I've avoided 42ND STREET all these years because I'm such a fan of the film and saw no point in re-creating it on stage.But the West End production broadcast last night was simply impossible to dislike! Yeah, there's a lot more character development even in the corny Busby Berkeley movie, but the show at the Drury Lane is beautifully sung and danced!
About 1 hour in, I started thinking "May there NEVER be a John Doyle staging of this show!" (And I suspect he agrees) Loved it!
If you missed it on your local PBS channel, 42ND STREET is available for streaming on the BroadwayHD site. After a slow start, BroadwayHD now has a fairly impressive array of recent musicals, led by West End's The King and I. Also Roundabout's recent She Loves Me with Laura B., Kinky Boots, Hugh Jackman's Oklahoma, An American in Paris, The New York Philharmonic's concert Carousel, with Kelli O'Hara, Nathan Gunn, Jesse Mueller and Jason Danieley. Also Lady Day with Audra and a good many others.I've been advocating from time to time, mostly to myself, that Broadway shows be filmed and remain under control of Broadway interests, to be marketed to the public when this marketing will not hurt live show sales. Purpose is to satisfy unfilled demand for the Broadway product and raise funds for underwater investors and others.Objections to this idea include "Broadway shows are meant to be experienced live." Agreed, but if you happen to live in Portland, you may well settle for a good film.Looking at the BroadwayHD library, what I wrote above may already be happening.
GavestonPS said: "I've avoided 42ND STREET all these years because I'm such a fan of the film and saw no point in re-creating it on stage.But the West End production broadcast last night was simply impossible to dislike! Yeah, there's a lot more character development even in the corny Busby Berkeley movie, but the show at the Drury Lane is beautifully sung and danced!"I like both movie and stage versions equally. But I prefer the stage version since there’s more music
That book is abysmally bad. No character development, no stakes, corny one-liners, and above all no real sense of story. It's amazing that the musical numbers can hold everything together that well.Merrick originally demoted Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble's book to the title of "Lead-ins and Crossovers." This production illustrates why that was an apt title.
I enjoyed it, especially the production numbers.There was one line in particular that I can't believe was left in there when Annie asks Bert Barry if she'll be a star. His response isn't worth mentioning here, but in this day and age, it was absolutely cringe-worthy.Boulevard of Broken Dreams was an unnecessary addition.The one thing I noticed was the lack of diversity in the cast.
Is this the ONLY version of the book? We did it YEARS ago, and very little of this even sounded familiar. Granted, I was the choreographer, so perhaps I didn't pay a lot of attention - but I'm fairly certain our Dorothy didn't have NEARLY as much singing as was here.
Dramamama, there have been some minor tweaks to the book over the years (by the late Mark Bramble, who also directed this production) to accommodate additional songs. The 2001 revival added a few ("I Only Have Eyes For You" instead of "I Know Now" for Dorothy, "Plenty of Money and You," "Keep Young And Beautiful) and this London revival also added "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" for Dorothy. Dorothy's keys have also been transposed up, since Tammy Grimes really wasn't a singer.And yes, there's a line in the book that is scarily similar to a line in the Access Hollywood tape.
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