One of the most exciting sounds for lovers of musicals is when a whole stage of dancers starts to tap. The synchronicity of all those feet in rhythm with each other is exhilarating to hear and to watch. And while good tap dancers make it look easy, anyone who has ever tried it knows how difficult, exacting, and challenging it is, even for those who excel at other forms of dance.
42nd Street, the musical, is a love letter both to the Golden Age of Broadway musicals and to the art of tap dancing. Based on a 1933 Academy Award-winning musical film, 42nd Street made its Broadway debut in 1981.
It won Tonies that year for Best Musical and for Best Director and Choreographer for Gower Champion who died just hours before the opening night performance. The 2001 Broadway Revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.
This quintessential backstage story focuses on the star-struck character, Peggy Allen, who comes to the Great White Way to make fame and fortune. After getting cast in the musical Pretty Lady, she is thrust front and center when she is asked to replace the leading lady who has broken her ankle.
Playhouse audiences will love hearing some old standard tunes that they might not know are from 42nd Street including: “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” “I Only Have Eyes For You.” “We’re in the Money,” and “Lullaby of Broadway.”
Back after directing and choreographing the smash sell-out Mary Poppins for the Playhouse earlier this season is Michael Farrell, again at the helm as director and choreographer for 42nd Street. Michael, who is Twin City based director/choreographer, has just recently directed Gypsy for Theater Latte Da and the Hennepin Theater Trust and Hairspray for Theater Artistry.
He shares, “I have directed 42nd Street before but it’s very close to my heart as it was my first Union Actors’ Equity production that I was in many years ago!”
Michael is excited to be back for another turn at the Duluth Playhouse. “I love the community of actors and the top notch production staff here. It is not hard to direct once you have found the right actors. They must all be triple threats. Act. Sing. Dance. I lucked out and have been able to cast a very strong cast.”
He adds, “It’s an old classic musical, a show about doing a show, and one girl’s dream of getting her big break, something many in our business hope for. There was a glamour and sophistication back in the early 1930s, and being able to recreate that dynamic and transform the stage and setting to that will be exciting.”
Playhouse audiences are sure to thrill to one of the iconic pieces of American musical theater. Michael notes, “It’s a big spectacle, packed with great, very familiar songs, and lots of tap dancing. Who doesn’t like tap dancing?”
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue (Volune 57, Number 4) of The Callboard, the Duluth Playhouse’s bi-monthly newsletter and was written by Sheryl Jensen.
Book your tickets now!
What: 42ND STREET
When: April 21 – May 8, 2016
Showtimes: Wednesday-Saturday @ 7:30pm, Sundays @ 2:00pm, Saturday Matinees at 2:00pm on April 30 and May 7
Where: The Duluth Playhouse (506 W. Michigan St, Duluth MN 55802)
Tickets: Online at duluthplayhouse.org or call 218.733.7555
Ticket Prices: Adults – $30 | Youth/Students – $25 | Groups (15+) – $25