A feel-good classic musical with an impressive number of break-out musical moments and a vast collection of dazzling costumes. The stars of the show are the athletic ensemble dancers who make mounting this beast of a show in a perfectly synchronised fashion look effortless.
I found myself in the very unique position of inviting a theatre newby to see a musical. It was unique because I usually go to shows on my own or drag my poor mum/brother to go along with me. At first, I was excited by the prospect of introducing someone to what would be a new world. But then it dawned on me how much responsibility I carried in selecting the right show. Musicals have such a reputation for being unrealistic and fanciful, that I knew I couldn’t just pick any old one and needed something which demonstrated that this medium should command respect. Thankfully I took a chance on 42nd Street and it did not disappoint.
The story is fairly simple, Peggy Sawyer from Allentown has big dreams of performing on Broadway and luckily gets the chance to star in “Pretty Lady” alongside Broadway sensation Dorothy Brock (Bonnie Langford). Trouble ensues when Dorothy tries to hide her secret love affair from her Sugar Daddy, Abner Dillon, who also happens to be financing the show.
The plot is fairly forgettable and rather the highlights are the breakout dance routines. I felt humbled to be in the company of so many brilliant performers who had obviously worked hard at their craft to become triple threats. It’s great that a good fashioned show like this gives them the chance to display their tremendous talent. All the design elements from the costumes, set and lighting come together majestically to recreate the 1930s world and it really was a feast for the eyes.
The music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin and Jonny Mercer has classic tunes performed by a full and rich orchestra section. One of my favourites had to be the Lullaby of Broadway, which was the most stereotypical musical moments of them all. You have one person spontaneously sent to do a task and next thing you know it’s a fully fledged musical number with the whole ensemble somehow on stage, dancing to pre-rehearsed choreography. Although this is becoming somewhat of a rarity as contemporary shows try to introduce numbers a little more subtly, still, I loved it regardless.
The opinion which really matters is that of the theatre virgin no more, and they said they like it! So if you’re ever stuck with something to do with distant relatives or business colleagues in London, I’d definitely recommend seeing 42nd Street.