BWW Reviews: 42ND STREET at Lakewood Cultural Center
Few shows capture the glamour and spectacle of the original Ziegfeld Follies as well as 42nd Street. The elaborate showgirl numbers and huge dancing choruses were the stuff of legend, and provided the inspiration for many gaudy Broadway musicals. While the show mocks some of the silliness of the original art, it pays homage to the core glitz and sparkle of the Ziegfeld productions, and keeps the audience tapping their toes throughout.
The premise of the show is fairly simple, and serves merely as a vehicle to drive on the elaborate song and dance numbers. Famed director Julian Marsh (Keegan Flaugh) is putting up another giant dance show, and small-town mouse Peggy Sawyer (Rachel Whyte) comes to audition. She misses the initial dance call, but when leading man Billy Lawlor (Andy Sievers) spots her, he manages to get her into the show. Throw in some side-plot hijinks and a love triangle, and the show is on its way. On opening night, the star, Dorothy Brock (Le Ann Scherlong) breaks her ankle and low and behold, our underdog chorus girl Peggy becomes the star of the show and our hearts.
The ensemble for the show was incredibly strong, and tapped their hearts out on stage. Choreography by Andrew Bates (who also appears as the shows dance captain character, Andy Lee) was spectacular and very intricate. Lee Ann Scherlong as Dorothy belted out the big female ballads, while Andy Sievers had some delightful tenor treats to add as well. The comedic duo of Shahara Ray and Kris Graves (as Maggie and Bert) was hilariously entertaining, and Peggy Sawyer clearly had buckets of talent to spill on the stage. But for all the leading characters' glamour, the ensemble numbers where the whole cast tapped and sang were what the audience will remember most.
When a show like 42nd Street is produced, audiences know to expect a giant song and dance musical with lots of spectacle. But Performance Now's production reduced some of the large-scale sets and staging that the show usually demands. The set design, by Jeramy Boik was minimalistic serviceable, but at times painfully underwhelming for the scenes going on. The lighting design, by Vance McKenzie helped to re-capture the glittery feel of the 1930's showstoppers, and made up for some of the shortcomings of the set. Of all the production team, though, the hardest working was definitely the pit orchestra. They blasted out song after exhausting song from a score that is anything but easy.
In all, Director Bernie Cardell and the crew at Performance Now Theatre Company have put together an excellent production. They harnessed the talents of a wonderful performance ensemble and put on a show that was bright, energetic, and most importantly, purely entertaining.
42nd Street plays the Lakewood Cultural Center April 10-April 26. Tickets and info at www.lakewood.org/culturalcenter, or at the Box Office: 303-987-7845.