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42nd Street

a Musical
by Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble; Music by Harry Warren; Lyrics by Al Dubin

COMPANY : Atlanta Lyric Theatre
VENUE : The Strand
ID# 3901

SHOWING : December 03, 2010 - December 19, 2010



The Tony Award-winning "42nd Street" is an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza inspired by the 1933 Busby Berkeley film of the same name. Fresh off the bus from Allentown and ready to take Broadway by storm at the height of the Great Depression, Peggy Sawyer catches the eye of veteran producer Julian Marsh. When the leading lady of his new production falls ill, Peggy gets her big break and becomes a big star. Featuring a score of standards such as "We’re in the Money," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," "Lullaby of Broadway," and "42nd Street," this splashy Broadway musical will have you tapping in the aisles and humming right along!

Director Brandt Blocker
Music Director/Conductor BJ Brown
Ensemble Courtney Bowers
Ensemble Aaron Carter
Billy Lawlor William James Daniels
Ensemble Fenner Eaddy
Ensemble Zack Everhart
Ensemble Caroline Freedlund
Lorraine Fleming Courtney Godwin
Mac Charles Green
Dorothy Brock Karen Hebert
Abner Dillon Steven J Hornibrook
Andy Lee Jason Kalish
Bert Barry Dustin Lewis
Ensemble Michael Malone
Julian Marsh Jeff McKerley
Ensemble Elizabeth Neidel
Maggie Jones Mary Nye
Ensemble Becca Potter
Pat Denning Lawrence Ruth
Phyllis Dale Becky Simmons
Ann Reilly Jennifer Smiles
Peggy Sawyer Casey Leigh Thompson
Oscar Justin Thompson
Ensemble Lauren Warnke
Ensemble Preston Watson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Tapping All the Right Notes
by Dedalus
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Every now and then, a production comes along that overturns all expectations. Case in point is “42nd Street,” a show I’d always been not-so-dazzled by. The fact is, the only production I’d seen before was a tired touring company squeezed in at the end of a run of other back-stage musicals (including “Dreamgirls” and “Tap Dance Kid”). To say that I was a bit tired of the genre would be an understatement.

Imagine my surprise when Atlanta Lyric’s high-energy production kicked that tired memory right out of my head and replaced it with this show that clicks (I should say “taps”) on every level.

Yes, it’s the original “you’re going out there a youngster and coming back a star” plot in which the insanely talented ingénue dazzles the cynical producer and replaces the diva star. How many times have we seen that one, Ms. Daaé? But put it into a production as finely tuned and well-performed as this one, and the cliché comes to life and reminds us why it’s a plot that is retold time and again.

Let’s start with the choreography. This is, after all, a heavy dance piece with so much tap-dancing one often fears for the stage floor. Karen Hebert has put together a series of BIG dance numbers that succeed on the synchronized dancing of the cast. I know how hard it is to get small choruses to “stay together,” but here the large ensemble absolutely astounds with their precision, not once but in multiple numbers. No, there’re no stunning feats of athleticism, no stand-out solos, no overly-complicated routines that are the stock-in-trade of too many choreographers these days. Instead, there is a large group of (young) dancers going through their paces and showing us what being part of a chorus really means.

Moving on to the cast, I have to commend Jeff McKerley for tackling the role of producer Julian Marsh with a skill that transcended the schticky mugging that has crept in too many of his recent performances. Not to be snide, but it’s good to see him ACT again! Here he creates a character who is convincing and appealing. Cold with a “do-anything-for-the-show” obsessiveness, his thaw to an unspoken affection for young Peggy Sawyer is apparent even to the Strand’s balcony, where I was parked. Add to that his normal (and expected) to-the-rafters Broadway belt voice, and what’s not to like?

Casey Leigh Thompson brings to Peggy Sawyer charm and talent to spare, making us see why she is able to win over everyone -- lecherous co-stars, fellow chorus gypsies, demanding producer, parked-in-the-balcony cynic, and even, late in the show, older diva star. Ms. Thompson is beautiful to look at and wonderful to listen to, and creates a character that transcends the clichés and makes them real.

And, as the prematurely aging Dorothy Brock, choreographer Karen Hebert hits every note right, even the late-in-the-show “thawing” towards Peggy Sawyer. She made another cliché of the genre actually have life (and maybe even a little dignity).

The sets by Lee Shiver successfully managed the transitions from scene to scene, with the bare backstage an over-riding image that seeps into everything. The sets were well-designed for the large cast and many scenes, and the lighting (by Jessica Coale) kept the action in focus and with just the right touch of razzle-dazzle.

So, no one will convince me that “42nd Street” breaks new ground or should be in the pantheon of “Great Musicals.” Its plotline has been overdone by too many lesser shows between its origin as a movie and its transition to the stage. But, when delivered with the force of a perfectly directed (by Brandt blocker), perfectly designed, perfectly choreographed, and perfectly performed production such as this, it’s a potent reminder of where musicals came from and why they still appeal, of why they can still surprise, and, at times, overwhelm.

“42nd Street” has closed and is now confined to the lullaby of memory, but it is a memory I will treasure.

-- Brad Rudy (

Fun ... Not Fabulous
by Stages4me
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wow, lots of glowing reviews!
I enjoyed the show. The dancing was good, music as good, acting was good. Not the best thing I've seen at Lyric, but definately worth the price of admission.

I am a bit suprised by all the reviews rated 5 by first time reviewers. If I was skeptical or cynical, I would think that someone involved with the show was creating new profiles and padding the reviews to boost thier egos or to drum up business. Good thing I am not skeptical or cynical and take all reviews at face value! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Face Value by BSM
Thank goodness I am not skeptical or cynical either. My friends and I saw this production. It was wonderful.
A Holiday Treat
by Showbuzz
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I went with a group of friends to see 42nd Street at the Strand. It was a great night of entertainment. What a talented group of people! The music was superb. The choreography was brilliant. The actors were all grand. Everyone loved the young lady that played Peggy Sawyer. Her name...Casey Leigh Thompson. I over heard some young men complimenting her performance during the production. I have to agree. Ms. Thompson is very talented and very attractive. Karen Herbert gave an impression too. My friends and I thought nothing could top Mr. Blockers Will Rogers Follies, but this production is now on top of our list!

A Night I Will Remember
by Fullp
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Atlanta Lyric Theatre has a fabulous show on its hands.

The talent is astounding:

Casey Leigh Thompson plays the young Peggy Sawyer. Where did they find this little starlet! She has the talent and charm that will brighten up any stage. Jeff McKerley plays the harsh Julian Marsh. William James Daniels plays the love struck Billy Lawler. Karen Hebert plays the aging diva Dorothy Brock. The chorus members are full of glitter, glitz, and so much fun to watch. BJ Brown and the orchestra are fantastic. The musicians play familiar tunes that will make you start singing and tapping in your seats.

This is one of the best shows I have seen and I have seen many.

Congratulations to director Brandt Blocker and everyone involved. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
What a Christmas Treat!
by TBenton
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Run! Do not walk to see this production of 42nd Street. The director, choreographer, cast, and crew at the Atlanta Lyric Theatre are putting on one hell of a show.

Everyone is wonderful. The chorus girls and men will make you wish you can tap and look like them. The band is excellent and the set designs are clever. Karen Hebert plays a great aging star named Dorothy Brock. She is also the shows choreographer. My favorite actress is that pretty little package named Casey Leigh Thompson who plays the lead character, Peggy Sawyer.She is amazing. She can sing,dance, act, make you laugh, and make you cry. What a gifted young lady.

Through out the show there were cheers, applause, and standing ovations. If you did not like this production then you are just a mean old grinch or someone s competition. Everyone raved about this production as we were leaving. I think I am going to give myself a Christmas Present and go see this show again. It is that good!

What a Production!
by sderrick
Monday, December 13, 2010
If you want to see a first rate musical then head to the Atlantic Lyric Theater. You will dance to the beat of those dancing feet. The cast is excellent. Casey Leigh Thompson is beautiful and talented. She can sing, dance, and act. You will watch her grow as a chorus girl to a star. Brandt Blocker's direction and Karen Hebert's choreography are out of this world. You will jump out of your seat to join everyone for a well deserved standing ovation at the end. Do not miss this one! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Glitzy, Brash, and Brassy
by playgoer
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Atlanta Lyric Theatre always provides professional musical entertainment. "42nd Street" certainly is no exception to that rule. The action unfolds with glitzy costumes, brash performances, and brassy orchestrations. The story is a knowingly trite incarnation of "chorus girl becomes a star," but this production doesn't quite hit the fine line between camp and sincerity. It's entertaining, but doesn't impress the way it could.

The best thing in the show, without doubt, is the choreography by Karen Hebert. She takes full advantage of the tap-dancing skills of the cast, arranging dancers onstage so that arm movements and unison tapping "pop" to their maximum effect. Ms. Hebert also plays fading star Dorothy Brock, giving a fine performance in terms of voice and acting. Dorothy Brock isn't supposed to be a good dancer, so her movements are limited. The worst choreography, I thought, was the arm movements she did to "About a Quarter to Nine," as echoed by ingenue Peggy Sawyer (played by Casey Leigh Thompson). While Dorothy Brock was in a wheelchair at the time, the elemental swaying seemed just a bit too basic and uninventive, given the overall visual appeal of the other choreography.

Scenic design by Lee Shiver works particularly well to keep the action moving along, and is the best use of space on the Strand Theatre stage that I have yet seen. The basic playing area is defined by a brick wall in the back, fronted by a scaffolding-like balcony and movable steps, and with art deco doorways on either side. Unrolling scrims provide alternate backgrounds, with projections of curtains rising and lowering adequately setting the scene for the on-stage numbers. Keep an eye on the brick wall too; it plays a surprising part in "There's a Sunny Side." Lighting by Jessica Coale works very well, adding lots of fun to the "Shadow Waltz" number.

Performances are all adequate or better, with Mary Nye Bennett coming on as a powerhouse from her first line as songwriter/actress Maggie Jones. Jennifer Smiles Plumley also makes an impression as Anytime Annie. None of the performances are sub-par. The amplification of voices harms some performances; Larry Ruth, as Dorothy Brock's beau Pat Denning, sounded particularly tinny and strained.

The funniest moment in the show is when Peggy Sawyer delivers the same lines repeatedly with different intonations before, during, and after kisses from director Julian Marsh (Jeff McKerley). Unfortunately, though, there's no real chemistry between the two (or between Peggy and Billy Lawlor, played by William James Daniels). That makes the ending of the show a little flat, which isn't helped by the choreography of the title number. Doing "42nd Street" with "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"-type depictions of the lyrics just doesn't speak to the true strength of the choreography, which in this case is pure show-biz glitz.

When the production goes for broke in the dance numbers, it sparkles. Otherwise, it's perfectly adequate, but nothing more. Atlanta Lyric Theatre is providing an alternate holiday entertainment that is worth seeing, but it won't make you forget Santa and his merry elves. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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