The best of Broadway is coming to the Performing Arts Center on Monday with the musical comedy classic, “42nd Street.” The original Broadway show opened in 1980 and won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography.
This new production of “42nd Street” is directed by co-author Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, the team who staged the 2001 Tony Award-winning revival. Bramble has staged productions of the musical all over the world, including London, Sydney, Tokyo and Berlin. The nationwide tour began in Salt Lake City in September and is scheduled through July 2016.
The title song, “42nd Street,” is paired with other iconic musical numbers considered some of the greatest songs ever written, including “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle off to Buffalo” and “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
This timeless backstage story of pursuing dreams of stardom on Broadway is based on Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie. Ingénue Peggy Sawyer, just off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania, arrives in New York City but due to her nervousness is too late for an audition. However, famous director Julian Marsh notices Peggy and gives her a part in the chorus. Leading lady and diva Dorothy Brock grows to dislike Peggy. When Dorothy breaks her ankle on opening night, the show is doomed. Other cast members advocate for Peggy to take over the lead role and she becomes a star.
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Central Coast audiences will find a younger cast in this production of “42nd Street” compared to the Broadway show. The 38 players come from all over the country. Kaitlin Lawrence, who plays Dorothy, grew up in Santa Cruz. Although Dorothy was originally cast as an older actress in the Broadway show, Lawrence says “a prima donna can be someone of any age.”
Lawrence promises the same extravaganza as you would experience on Broadway with an added dose of passion and heart by the ensemble. “Our passion is a special gift to the audience,” she says with much excitement.
The young actress, who graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Florida in 2011, says “42nd Street” is her biggest opportunity so far, adding that she’s “grown so much” through this experience. She cites an experienced director, great production team and solid support system for the actors as ingredients to the successful show.
“You don’t often get a chance to be directed by the original writer,” says Lawrence. “I am living my dream and I don’t take it for granted.”
Sounds like something that Peggy Sawyer would say.
7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30
Performing Arts Center, Cohan Center, San Luis Obispo
$60 to $90