After being released as a film back in 1933, 42nd Street was originally adapted for the Broadway stage in 1980, with a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren.
Peterbrook Players now bring this toe-tapping musical back to Solihull audiences, after first performing it in 1996 and then again in 2005. Unlike typical musicals where the songs are very much at the forefront, 42nd Street is more about the spectacle, colour and vibrance. As the curtain raises on the performance, there is a delightful dance sequence as feet tap quickly to an infectious rhythm.
The play follows the story of Peggy Sawyer (played by Charlotte Bickerton) and her rise to fame from chorus girl to Broadway star. Standing in her way is diva Dorothy Brock (played by Sharon Tozer), but after an unfortunate accident Peggy lands a chance to prove to everyone that she is deserving of the spotlight. Mark Hughes delivered an assured performance as director Julian Marsh, with vocals that shone through in the cast.
Cathy King and Andrew Alton provided much of the comic relief as Maggie and Bert, with a particularly hilarious moment when King performed the Shadow Waltz. Other mentions also to Melissa Bickerton who elicited many a laugh from the audience in her role as Anytime Annie and the incredibly adorable Beau the Dog, making his debut at only 8 months old!
Lullaby of Broadway stood-out as the strongest ensemble piece of the night, there was a beautiful male harmony and as the cast came together on stage they formed a formidable chorus. There was tap dancing aplenty and the cast tackled complicated routines with verve, which made for a refreshing and enjoyable evening.
Peterbrook Players production of 42nd Street runs at Solihull Arts Complex until Saturday 18 April. Tickets are sold out, though there may be some limited availability if you speak to Solihull Arts Complex directly.
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