Original Article: http://www.chicagonow.com/lets-play/2017/11/42nd-street-the-musical/
Ah, the infamous 42nd Street! This major crosstown street in the New York City borough of Manhattan is known for its theaters; specifically near the intersection of Broadway at Times Square in Midtown. The Theater District of Manhattan New York is notably one of the busiest and brightest intersections where numerous people thrive off of one another to survive, especially during the ‘Great Depression' of 1933.
"42nd Street" is an American musical favorite written by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, and music by Harry Warren. This musical takes you on a journey of bright lights, big dreams, and even bigger egos. We follow Peggy Sawyer (Kimberly Immanuel) fresh off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania, as she arrives in New York City with her suitcase in hand to audition for the next big musical.
Auditions for 1933's newest show Pretty Lady, are nearly over when aspiring chorus girl Peggy gets up enough nerves to try out for a spot to dance her dreams of being a star into reality. Her luck would change however when Billy Lawlor (Phillip Attmore), one of the teen leads in the play has his eyes set on her from the moment she walked in the room.
He asks her out and tells her he can help her bypass the auditions. Unfortunately, choreographer Andy Lee (Erica Evans) has no time for Billy's latest conquest and tells her, "Amscray, toots." You have to love the dialogue back in the 30's to appreciate that statement. Nervous and anxious Peggy rushes off, only to run into director Julian Marsh.
Famed dictatorial Great White Way director Julian Marsh (Gene Weygandt) is determined to put on a successful stage production of a musical extravaganza at the height of the Great Depression of 1933, even if it means he has to deal with the one time star prima donna, Dorothy Brock (Suzzanne Douglas) who is past her prime. Julian only agrees to cast her in order to get financial backing from her wealthy beau, Abner Dillon (Cedric Young) but insist that she auditions for the role.
Peggy still without a job or a role in the play gets another break when Marsh tells Andy the dance choreographer that he still needs one more dancer as a replacement and Peggy is on right on the spot, dancing her soul away. She lands the final role but misfortunate comes when Dorothy accuses Peggy of bumping her during rehearsal causing her to fall and break her ankle. Dorothy demands that Julian fires her and he angrily concedes but the play that hasn’t even had a chance to start is already over. Julian has to tell the group that the play may have to close because they don't have a lead actress.
However, someone from the group suggests that Peggy could fill the lead role easily because she's a fresh young face who can sing and dance circles around Dorothy. Julian is hesitant at first but agrees it is worth a shot and rushes off to the Philadelphia's Broad Street Train Station, to catch her before she departs.
Julian apologizes and asks Peggy to return, but Peggy is done with show business and is ready to return back home to Allentown. Desperately, Julian tries to persuade her with the words "Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway..." and after the cast joins him in the serenade, she finally accepts his offer.
Peggy is now thrust into the lead role however she has never had any role and is traumatized when she realizes to make her dream come true she has to learn all of the songs and dances in two days. She’s trying not to have a nervous breakdown while rehearsing but she gets a surprising vote of encouragement from Dorothy who has been watching her and come to the conclusion that she is pretty good. Dorothy decides to bury the hatchet and gives her some friendly advice on how to perform the last song, "About a Quarter to Nine."
Julian stops by to see Peggy before the opening night curtain rise, he kisses her and gives her a pep talk to get her into character and utters the iconic line, "You're going out there a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" The show was a huge success that catapulted Peggy into stardom. Peggy is invited to the opening night party; however, she decides to attend the chorus one instead. Julian is standing alone onstage and quietly begins singing "Come and meet those dancing feet on the avenue I'm taking you to...42nd Street."
42nd Street is a new age melting pot with a diverse cast of good singers, fabulous dancers and talented actors that stay true to the origin of the story. The musical has a nostalgic aura, with a contemporary feel that the young and old can relate too. It is the story where with one lucky break (no pun intended) can change the dynamics of a person dreams.
The energy displayed in this musical that honored the roots of tap dancing was simply remarkable which includes the singing of the classic song of "We're In The Money" and the awesome chorus tap dancing on a drum-shaped platform sprinkled with nickels and dimes. This was a phenomenal piece of artistry at its finest along with many others such as "Shuffle Off To Buffalo" came with a fresh new age sound that was well appreciated.
We highly recommend that you come out and enjoy the singing and dancing in 42nd Street. It surely will put you in the holiday mood of believing dreams do come true.
The Cast Includes:
Suzzanne Douglas (Dorothy Brock)
Gene Weygandt (Julian Marsh)
Kimberly Immanuel (Peggy Sawyer)
Phillip Attmore (Billy Lawler)
Justin Brill (Bert Barry)
Donica Lynn (Maggie Jones)
Brandon Springman (Pat)
Cedric Young (Abner Dillon)
Erica Evans (Andy Lee)
Sierra Schnack (Annie)
Bret Tuomi (Mac/Thug/Doctor).
Additional casting includes Time Brickey, Lamont Brown, Tristan Bruns, Joe Capstick, Joel Chambers, Andrea Collier, Gabriela Delano, Annie Jo Ermel, Rachel Marie LaPorte, Mandy Modic, Thomas Ortiz, Allie Pizzo, Marisa Riegle, Anthony Sullivan Jr., and Davon Suttles.
Drury Lane Theatre continues 2017/2018 Season
with 42nd Street
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble
Based on the Novel by Bradford Ropes
Original Direction and Dances by Gower Champion
Originally Produced on Broadway by David Merrick
October 26, 2017– January 7, 2018
Filed under: ChicagoNow