Monday, January 13, 2014

A Loving, Lovely "42nd Street" at Wick Theatre

Pure joy: that’s what the Wick Theatre production of “42nd Street” is all about.
Wick Theatre, successor to Caldwell, has pulled out the stops for this bright, beautiful, lavishly-costumed big tap dance musical, based on the much-loved 1933 movie, which in turn was based on a novel by Bradford Ropes,
“42nd Street” debuted in 1980 as the final effort by famed director-chorographer Gower Champion. The musical has enjoyed several revivals, but it has been several years since it has been seen in South Florida.
“42nd Street” is essentially a Broadway star-is-born fable, with a naïve ingénue named Peggy Sawyer (the excellent Julie Kleiner) getting her one shot at stardom when a show’s vain, egotistical star Dorothy Brock (Aaron Bower) suffers an accident the day before opening night.
All of the characters are stereotypes, which is part of the show’s raffish charm. There is the bombastic, dictatorial yet realist director Julian Marsh (Jim Ballard), the seen-it-all playwright and den mother Maggie Jones (Missy McArdle), the obsequious co-author of the fictional musical “Pretty Lady” (Jeffrey Bruce), the friendly, supportive “Anytime Annie” (Alison McCartan), the rich gullible producer Abner Dillon (Alan Gerston) and the guileless juvenile male lead Billy Lawlor (Alex Jorth).
Director Norb Joerder and choreographer Ron Hutchins have cast the show with an eye for dancers, for “42nd Street” is nothing if not a tap-dancing extravaganza. It does not disappoint. Combine this with lovable tunes like the title song, “We’re in the Money,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and the “Lullaby of Broadway” and you have a show that is virtually impossible not to like. Top it all off with the exquisite costumes from the Wick Museum and you have a theatrical treat that is downright intoxicating.


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