BWW Reviews: The Gateway's 42ND STREET
You will find it truly refreshing to attend Gateway Theatre's beautiful incarnation of the Tony winning musical 42nd Street. I know what you're thinking... 42nd Street is done frequently... and you are correct. However, the right cast and a top notch director - Broadway's Randy Skinner who had a hand in the original Broadway production as well as the 2001 Broadway revival - breathes new life into a theatre staple.
While Mr. Skinner brilliantly leads this production, his colleague from Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Mary Giattino-Styles, has delightfully adapted his choreography from the 2001 Broadway revival for the Gateway stage. Big tap numbers abound to familiar songs in Harry Warren and Al Dubin's score including "We're in the Money", "Lullaby of Broadway", as well as the show's title number.
The tale, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the succeeding 1933 film, follows naïve, fresh-off-the-bus actress Peggy Sawyer looking to make it big on The Great White Way. Peggy is superbly portrayed by Shannon O'Bryan (Broadway: Irving Berlin's White Christmas). A strong voice and effortless dancing make Ms. O'Bryan a natural for the role.
Another highlight among the large, talented cast is Drew Humphrey (Broadway: Irving Berlin's White Christmas) who charmingly portrays Billy Lawlor. Billy is an up-and-coming actor as well and takes a liking to Peggy guiding her as she tries to break into the business.
Also a favorite is Kathryn Kendall who comically portrays sassy Maggie Janes, one the producers on the show Peggy is trying to get into. She has great chemistry with Steve Luker (Broadway: 42nd Street) who portrays co-producer Bert. These two brought many laughs from the audience. This is in addition to a wonderful performance by Catherine Lefrere who portrays past-her-prime diva Dorothy Brock. Ms. Lefrere's no-nonsense saunter speaks volumes and her voice sang the score beautifully.
The whole cast is truly outstanding as is the creative team. Kelly Latta's set, albeit minimal, is divinely highlighted by Marcia Madeira's lighting. Seeing a live orchestra was also a treat as well. Led fantastically by Jonathan Parks, the great band also included Michael Kendrot, Mark Gatz, Ron Fox, Charlie Clausen, Gary Jones, Catherine O'Malley, and Terrence Bates.
And so, the Gateway Theatre certainly has a hit on their hands with 42nd Street. Dare I say that this might be one of the must-sees of the season. A wonderful cast, fantastic director, and a classic score make for a wonderful night of theatre.
42nd Street is presented at the Gateway Theatre of Bellport, Long Island, through June 8th. Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Al Dubin, Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble, Direction & Broadway Revival Choreography by Randy Skinner, Choreography Adapted by Mary Giattino-Styles, Musical Direction by Jonathan Parks, Lighting Design by Marcia Madeira, Stage Management by Nikki Lint, Scenic Design by Kelly Latta, Casting by Michael Baker, Wig Design by Trent Pcenicni, Sound Design by Don Hanna. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 286-1133 or visit www. gatewayplayhouse.com.
Photo #1 by Jeff Bellante. James Lloyd Reynolds (Julian Marsh) and Shannon O'Bryan (Peggy Sawyer).
Photo #2 by Jeff Bellante - Shannon O'Bryan (Peggy Sawyer, center), with ensemble.