“42nd Street” revival packs dazzling dance steps, showtune standards into dream chasing story

42nd Street Photos provided by Broadway In Chicago

In 1980, “42nd Street” opened on Broadway under producer David Merrick and director/chorographer Gower Champion, playing an astounding 3,486 performances and racking up Tony Awards for “Best Musical” and “Best Choreography.” Fast forward to 2001, and the revival by director/co-author/longtime Merrick collaborator Mark Bramble and choreographer Randy Skinner ran an impressive 1,524 shows and took home two more Tonys.

Along the way, classics such as “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby Of Broadway” and “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” make it very easy for her to do just that, and by the time the “Pretty Lady” cast works their way to the showstopping “42nd Street” finale, it’s also sure to give the audience a razzle-dazzle reminder that even during these trying times, dreams really can come true.

Come 2016, the musical based on the 1933 movie of the same name is back on tour via that same creative team, and like the many versions before it, tells the ultimate American Dream tale through a series of instantly recognizable showtunes and some of the most stunning dance formations to ever hit the stage. No, it isn’t the most thought-provoking or meaningful musical, but the tale of the starry-eyed Peggy Sawyer (the sweet Caitlin Ehlinger) leaving Allentown for the Big Apple is still absolutely irresistible.

42nd StreetNaturally upon her arrival, Peggy runs into many roadblocks, including almost missing the audition for the fictitious musical “Pretty Lady,” but after a few chance meetings with the director Julian (the suave Matthew J. Taylor), she makes the final cut right before the first rehearsal. Even with the fortuitous turn of events, she must contend with the leading lady Dorothy (the diva-esque Kaitlin Lawrence), who may be a little past her prime but continues to be difficult, culminating with a leg injury on opening night.

Nonetheless, that very mishap gives Peggy the chance to fill in, and as Julian so accurately proclaims in one of the show’s most memorable lines, “you’re going out there a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!” Along the way, classics such as “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby Of Broadway” and “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” make it very easy for her to do just that, and by the time the “Pretty Lady” cast works their way to the showstopping “42nd Street” finale, it’s also sure to give the audience a razzle-dazzle reminder that even during these trying times, dreams really can come true.


“42nd Street” continues various dates and times at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through March 20. For additional details, visit BroadwayInChicago.com and 42ndStMusical.com.

4s7xi2u