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42nd Street
a Musical Comedy
by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble (book), Harry Warren (music), Al Dubin (lyrics)

COMPANY : City Springs Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Byers Theatre at City Springs [WEBSITE]
ID# 5340

SHOWING : September 14, 2018 - September 23, 2018



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
Dorothy Brock Deborah Bowman
Bartender/Ensemble Jason Cohen
Ensemble Priscilla Curtis
Billy Lawlor Benjamin Davis
Mac George Deavours
Ensemble Fenner Eaddy
Ethel Arielle Geller
Waiter/Ensemble Avery Gillham
Abner Dillon Steven J Hornibrook
Winnie Jenna Jackson
Gladys Imani Joseph
MaryAnn Barbara Macko
Maggie Jones Marcie Millard
Anytime Annie Lauren Tatum
Bert Barry Geoff Uterhardt
Pat Denning Jody Woodruff
Production Manager Brad Bergeron
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Those Dancing Feet
by playgoer
Monday, September 17, 2018
The Byers Theatre at City Springs is a lovely theatre, a bit like the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on a smaller scale. And the production of "42nd Street" playing there seems similar to the Broadway staging, only on a smaller scale. The Broadway elements are there (the Mercury dime platforms for "We’re in the Money;" the railway station dual staircase for "Lullaby of Broadway;" the curtained train compartments for "Shuffle Off to Buffalo"), but in Bruce Brockman’s scenic design, they seem a little smaller and a little cheaper.

Costumes, coordinated by Betty Johnson and Amanda Edgerton West, give the production a sumptuous feel, and Mike Wood’s lighting design adds excitement during the musical numbers, with illuminated patterns on the stage floor swirling and converging. George Deavours’ wigs look pretty wiggy overall, and probably won’t improve over the run, but they do add to the period feel. What really adds visual excitement, though, is the choreography by Cindy Mora Reiser. The opening sequence and the post-bows dance number absolutely "wow," and the dancing that goes on between those two moments is pretty terrific as well.

Choreography sets up the dance numbers, but the ensemble is what really sells them. Unison movements are quite uniform, and the variety gained by having one person start a step and another (or a group) then mimicking it makes for visceral excitement. The ensemble can’t be praised enough. Lauren Brooke Tatum, as Anytime Annie, is the unofficial head chorine, and she excels both in her song & dance and in her book scenes.

The principals are good too. Shuler Hensley gives Julian Marsh an authoritative air with kindness lurking underneath. Leigh Ellen Jones invests Peggy Sawyer with innocence and drive. Deborah Bowman lets diva-driven venom spill as her sweet voice trills, setting up the plot in which star Dorothy Brock is injured and director Julian Marsh gives Peggy Sawyer her big break as replacement star.

There’s a nifty set of secondary leads too. Benjamin Taylor Davis does very nice work as tenor Billy Lawlor, giving a truly stagey 1930’s feel to his rehearsal scene. Googie Uterhardt and Marcie Millard do their usual above-par work as a songwriting team, and Steven Hornibrook is all he needs to be as investor Abner Dillon. Judy Woodruff is all All-American Dreamboat in his appearance and movements as Pat Denning, the man Dorothy Brock truly loves, although she is currently being bankrolled by Abner Dillon, but his singing falls a bit short.

Other than that, music director Judy Cole has gotten superb vocals out of the cast, which is particularly noteworthy considering how short-winded the ensemble must get during its energetic numbers. The live orchestra, conducted by director Brandt Blocker, usually sounds superb. (I thought I detected a horn playing out of sync with the rest of the brass in one sequence, however.) On-stage piano playing by Barbara Macko as MaryAnn is excellent. Musically, this is a blockbuster of a show.

"42nd Street" is a triumph of an initial production by the City Springs Theatre Company. It remains to be seen, though, how it will fare in competition with the more established Atlanta Lyric Theatre, which employs many of the same actors, singers, and dancers, and which performs the same sort of second-run Broadway shows with largely local professional talent. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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