For many of us, the story of Peggy Sawyer is one we all hoped to live. That one big chance to breakthrough, be the star & hit the heights. Well, 42nd Street, now playing at the Schuster Center, hits the heights indeed!
From the opening of the curtain, which teases perfectly, through the big finale, which satisfies with some unbelievable hoofing, 42nd Street reminds us that dreams do come true…..even if they are somebody else’s!
Gerrianne Genga who plays the upbeat, comic relief Maggie, is a standout. She brings to the stage that wacky, scene stealing character for which Daytonians are suckers. Her lively presence is balanced well with Kara Gibson Slocum’s spot on diva, Dorothy Brock. This iconic role carries much of the first act, and Miss Slocum delivers the ‘Dorothy’ fans desire.
No performance of 42nd Street would be complete without the delightful supporting roles that appear throughout the show. Annie (Kahlia Davis) is exceptional at grabbing the audience’s eye during the big numbers. Billy Lawlor (Connor Coughlin) surprises all with his booming voice and adorable delivery. Andy (Carlos Morales) proves that he has those ‘dancing feet’ talked so much about in the title song!
And then there are the leads…which I prayed could live up to other performances of this spectacular I have seen before. Rest assured, they did! Clara Cox, who brings Peggy Sawyer to life like a slow burn…building, building, brilliant! By the show’s end, you actually believe she came from nowhere and made it big! her tap-dancing was so fun to watch.
So the pressure fell to Matthew J Taylor in the role of director Julian Marsh. The lady behind me Tuesday Night put it best stating, “That man can do anything!” It appears so, with his story ending solo, comic timing and romantic charm, Taylor was easy to fall in love with.
But, let’s be real…why do people go to 42nd Street? It is packed with such great songs
like ‘We’re In The Money,’ ‘Keep Young and Beautiful,’ ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ and of course, ‘Lullaby of Broadway!’ With these great tunes, comes the main reason for it’s popularity…amazing dancing!
Nearly every song in the show is a major production, relying heavily on great set design and fun, sometimes silly props. The finale had the audience screaming…literally screaming with delight. You are exhausted for the cast…but, even after the finale, there’s a finale. PHEW! And one more time they awe you!
As a huge Broadway Fan, I always get a little nervous that traveling shows might not give you that overall theater experience….but I encourage you to follow the crowds to that Naughty, Bawdy, Gaudy, Sporty…..42 Street!!
The production of 42nd Street runs January 10-15 at the Schuster Center. Tickets at ticketcenterstage.com, or call 937.228.3630.