Times are tough on Broadway in 1933 and when word spreads that legendary Julian Marsh is casting for a new show the competition for places in the chorus line is predictably intense. One of the hopefuls is Peggy Sawyer, fresh into town from the Pennsylvania sticks, but when she loses here nerve and misses her audition her prospects don’t look good. Meanwhile Dorothy Brock, a former star who has the lead role thanks to an investment by her current beau Abner Dillon, is probably embarking on a last hurrah.
And so the stage is set for 42nd Street. Not quite the one you remember from the Busby Berkeley film because this stage show only dates from 1980 and has been extensively embellished with great songs of the time, but still a great show and one which has picked up plenty of awards for multiple productions over the last forty years and a fine vehicle for the talent and enthusiasm of the Curtain Up Productions team.
In the skilled hands of Director David Wrightam, choreographer Hayley Wrightam and musical director Keith Weston it’s a terrific, high energy show within a show drama that’s well worth an evening of your time. The lead players are all excellent with special praise going to Ruth Blanchard as the ingenue Peggy and Barb Dowell as the ultra-glamorous Dorothy Brock. Gary Howson’s Julian Marsh is a nice mix of martinet and wistful philosopher and Scott Smith (as juvenile lead Billy Lawlor) does a fantastic job leading the big musical numbers. He’s also resposible for the costumes which brilliantly evoke the colour and energy of 1930s New York.
It’s packed with great songs, the title number being the most famous of course, but also including the incomparable Getting To Be A Habit With Me, We’re In The Money, Young And Healthy and Shuffle Off To Buffalo and some dazzling dance routines and if you’re in the mood to brighten up a dark January evening with some good old fashioned razzmatazz then you couldn’t do better than to head down to meet those dancing feet.
42nd Street is at the Memorial Hall until Friday with tickets available from the box office on 01472 323111