42nd Street (musical)

42nd Street

Original Broadway Cast Recording
Music Harry Warren
Lyrics Al Dubin
Book Michael Stewart
Mark Bramble
Basis 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes
1933 film screenplay by
Rian James
James Seymour
Whitney Bolton
Premiere 25 August 1980
Winter Garden Theatre
Productions 1980 Broadway
1984 West End
1985 San Francisco
1996 South Korea
2001 Broadway revival
2007 UK Tour
2007–08 Asian Tour
2012 UK Tour
2015–16 US Tour
2017 West End revival
2016-17 Paris
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Olivier Award for Best Musical
Evening Standard for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Revival
Drama Desk Outstanding Revival

42nd Street is an American musical with a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren. The 1980 Broadway production, produced by David Merrick, directed by an ailing Gower Champion and orchestrated by Philip J. Lang, won the Tony Award for Best Musical and became a long-running hit. The show was produced in London in 1984 (winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical) and its 2001 Broadway revival won the Tony for Best Revival.

Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 Hollywood film adaptation, the show focuses on the efforts of famed dictatorial Great White Way director Julian Marsh to mount a successful stage production of a musical extravaganza at the height of the Great Depression.


Producer David Merrick "took a huge gamble with his $3 million production based on the 1933 Warner Brothers film musical", as "only one other show had made the transfer from original movie musical to the stage -- 'Gigi,' a flop in 1974."[1][2] He felt audiences once again were ready to embrace the nostalgia craze started by the successful revivals of No, No, Nanette, Irene, and his own Very Good Eddie several years earlier, and augmented the familiar songs from the film's soundtrack with a liberal dose of popular tunes from the Dubin-Warren catalogue.[1] According to theater historian John Kenrick, "When the curtain slowly rose to reveal forty pairs of tap-dancing feet, the star-studded opening night audience at the Winter Garden cheered...Champion followed this number with a series of tap-infused extravaganzas larger and more polished than anything Broadway really had in the 1930s."[3]


Original Broadway

In June 1980, the musical premiered in out-of-town tryouts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.[4] The musical opened on Broadway on August 25, 1980, at the Winter Garden Theatre,[5] and then moved to the Majestic and finally to the St. James, closing on January 8, 1989 after 3,486 performances and 6 previews.[6] (Frank Rich called this a sign of the "shift of power" on Broadway, as the show had to leave the Winter Garden to make way for Cats and the Majestic to accommodate The Phantom of the Opera.) The original cast included Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh, Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock, Wanda Richert as Peggy Sawyer, and Lee Roy Reams as Billy Lawlor.[5] Replacements later in the run included Barry Nelson and Don Chastain and Jamie Ross who played Julian for the last three years of its Broadway run,[7] Elizabeth Allen, Dolores Gray and Millicent Martin as Dorothy,[8] and Lisa Brown and Karen Ziemba as Peggy. (Karen Prunzik, who originated the role of Anytime Annie, briefly played the role of Peggy when Wanda Richert became ill and her understudy abruptly quit the show.)[9] The show's designers, Robin Wagner (sets), Theoni V. Aldredge (costumes), and Tharon Musser (lights) were the same team who had designed the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line.[10] The original Broadway production is the 14th longest running show in Broadway history, as of September 22, 2015.[11]

However, the opening night triumph was overshadowed by tragedy. Following a lengthy standing ovation, Merrick went onstage and stated, "It is tragic...Gower Champion died this afternoon." He went on to explain that Champion died hours before the performance, "when he said that Mr. Champion had died, there were gasps and screams."[12] The producer had advised only Bramble of Champion's death and managed to keep the news a secret from the cast (including Richert, the director's girlfriend), crew, and the public prior to his announcement.[2]

42nd Street proved to be not only Champion's last show but Merrick's final success. Merrick lived until 2000, but, as described by Anthony Bianco, 42nd Street "was his last big hit, his swan song."[13]

This Tony–nominated wardrobe, designed by Theoni V. Aldredge, is on rotating display at the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum in Boca Raton, Florida.[14]

West End – 1984

The West End production opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on August 8, 1984.[15] The career of teenaged Catherine Zeta-Jones, a chorus member in the 1984 West End production, was launched when a vacation and an illness felled both the actress portraying Peggy Sawyer and her understudy when one of the producers happened to be in the audience. Zeta-Jones filled in and was impressive enough to be cast permanently in the role shortly afterward.[16]

San Francisco – 1985

A San Francisco production opened at the Golden Gate Theatre on February 19, 1985 and ran through July 20, concurrently with the original Broadway production.[17]

Broadway revival – 2001

Bramble revised the book for and directed the Broadway revival, with choreography by Randy Skinner (dance assistant for the original production). It opened, after 31 previews, on May 2, 2001 at the Foxwoods Theatre (formerly the Ford Center for the Performing Arts),[18] where it ran for 1,524 performances. The cast included Michael Cumpsty as Julian, Christine Ebersole as Dorothy, Kate Levering as Peggy, and David Elder as Billy.[18] Meredith Patterson, who made her Broadway musical debut in the chorus and was the understudy for the role of Peggy Sawyer, took over the role in August 2001.[19] Todd Lattimore, who had been a swing and understudy, took the role of Billy. Other notable replacements included Patrick Cassidy[20] and Tom Wopat as Julian[21] and Shirley Jones[20] and Beth Leavel as Dorothy.

UK Tour – 2007

The Broadway revival production, by UK Productions, toured the UK in 2007. The cast included Paul Nicholas as Julian for the first part of the tour, later replaced by Dave Willetts, Julia J. Nagle as Dorothy, Jessica Punch as Peggy, Graham Hoadly as Bert Barry, Shirley Jameson as Maggie Jones and Ashley Nottingham as Billy.[22]

Asian Tour – 2007-08

An Asian tour of the Broadway revival played major venues throughout China and South Korea, with an English–speaking company directed by Mark Bramble.[23][24] The cast included Paul Gregory Nelson as Julian, Natalie Buster as Dorothy, Kristen Martin as Peggy, and Charles MacEachern as Billy.

Regional – 2009

A production directed by director/choreographer Randy Skinner made its debut at the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford, New York on September 24, 2009 through February 2010.[25] A one-act condensed version played for several months at the Reno Eldorado Hotel, Reno, Nevada showroom using recorded music track, closing in October 2009.[26]

Chichester and Leicester UK, 2011/12

A new production was staged for the Chichester Festival at the Chichester Festival Theatre in summer 2011. It was directed by Paul Kerryson with new choreography by Andrew Wright and starred Kathryn Evans as Dorothy and Tim Flavin as Julian. This production transferred to Curve in Leicester for the Christmas 2011 season (breaking all previous box office records for the theatre). Tim Flavin reprised his role, Ria Jones played Dorothy and Daisy Maywood portrayed Peggy.

UK Tour – 2012

UK Productions mounted a provincial UK tour of the show in 2012 with Dave Willetts reprising the role of Julian, Marti Webb playing Dorothy, Graham Hoadly as Bert Barry, Carol Ball as Maggie Jones and Mark Bramble directing.[27]

US Tour – 2015–16

A slightly updated version of the 2001 revival, revised and directed by Mark Bramble, began a United States tour in September 2015, opening in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 22. Matthew J. Taylor played Julian Marsh, Caitlin Ehlinger played Peggy Sawyer, and Blake Standik played Billy Lawlor.[28]

West End revival - 2017

On 5 August 2016 it was announced that a new production will begin previews from 20 March 2017 returning to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where the show had its original London production. Mark Bramble will once again direct.


Act I

Auditions for 1933's newest show, Pretty Lady, are nearly over when Peggy Sawyer, fresh off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania, arrives in New York City with valise in hand. Billy Lawlor, already cast as one of the juvenile leads, notices her and hopes to charm her into accepting a date with him. He informs her she has missed the audition but he can help her bypass that process, but choreographer Andy Lee has no time for Billy's latest conquest and tells her, "Amscray, toots." Embarrassed and flustered, she rushes off, only to run into director Julian Marsh.

One-time star Dorothy Brock, indignant at being asked to audition for a role, is reassured by Bert that he merely wants to make sure the songs are in her key. Despite his feeling she is a prima donna past her prime, he agrees to cast her in order to get financial backing from her wealthy beau, Abner Dillon. Outside the theatre, writer Maggie and chorus girls Anytime Annie, Phyllis, and Lorraine take pity on Peggy and invite her to join them for lunch and some advice. They encourage her to show them a dance routine that is witnessed by Julian, who decides there might be room for one more chorus girl after all.

Julian learns that Dorothy is seeing her old boyfriend, Pat Denning, behind Abner's back. Knowing this could destroy the show's future, he decides to put an end to the affair. A phone call to an unsavory acquaintance brings Pat a visit from a couple of thugs who convince him to break it off with her. The show's cast then departs to Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia, for the out-of-town tryout.

On opening night, someone bumps Peggy who trips and crashes into Dorothy, knocking her to the stage. Julian fires Peggy on the spot.

Act II

Dorothy's ankle is broken, and the show may close. The chorus kids, certain Peggy could fill the lead role, find Julian and tell him that she's a fresh young face who can sing and dance circles around Dorothy. He decides it is worth a shot and rushes off to the train station to catch her before she departs.

At Philadelphia's Broad Street Station, Julian apologizes to Peggy and asks her to stay and star in the show, but she responds that she has had enough of show business and wants to go home to Allentown. Dumbfounded, he tries to coax her with the words "Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway..." After the cast joins him in the serenade, she decides to accept his offer.

Forced to learn the part in two days, Peggy is on the verge of a nervous breakdown when she has an unexpected visit from Dorothy, who has been watching the rehearsals and realizes that beneath her nervous exterior, Peggy is good, "maybe even better than I would have been." She even offers a little friendly advice on how to perform the last song, "About a Quarter to Nine."

The opening night curtain is about to rise when Julian, who is completely in love with Peggy at this point, stops by for a last minute lip-lock and pep talk in which he utters the now iconic line, "You're going out there a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" The show is a huge success sure to catapult her into stardom. In addition, even though she is invited to and expected to attend the official opening night party, she decides to go to the chorus one instead. Julian is left alone onstage with only a single ghost light casting his huge shadow on the back wall. He quietly begins to sing, "Come and meet those dancing feet on the avenue I'm taking you to...42nd Street."


Source: Tams-Witmark Synopsis[29]

Musical numbers

Act I
  • “Overture” – Orchestra
  • “Audition” – Dancers
  • “Young and Healthy” – Billy and Peggy
  • “Shadow Waltz” – Maggie, Dorothy, and Girls
  • “Shadow Waltz (Reprise)” – Dorothy
  • “Go into Your Dance” – Maggie, Peggy, Annie, Phyllis, Lorraine, Gladys, and Andy
  • “You’re Gettin to Be a Habit with Me” – Dorothy
  • “Getting Out of Town” – Maggie, Bert, Pat, and Chorus
  • “Dames” – Billy and Chorus
  • "Keep Young and Beautiful/Dames Reprise" - Bert, Maggie and Ensemble
  • "I Only Have Eyes for You" - Dorothy and Billy
  • “I Know Now”* – Dorothy, Chorus and Billy
  • We're in the Money” – Annie, Phyllis, Lorraine, Gladys, Peggy, Billy, and Chorus
  • “Act One Finale” – Dorothy and Orchestra

Act II
  • “Entr’acte” – Orchestra
  • “There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation” – Annie and Chorus
  • Lullaby of Broadway” – Julian and Company
  • “About a Quarter to Nine” – Dorothy and Peggy
  • "With Plenty of Money and You" - Men Ensemble
  • Shuffle Off to Buffalo” – Maggie, Bert, Annie, and Girls
  • Forty-Second Street” – Peggy with Dancing Company
  • “Forty-Second Street (Reprise)” – Julian
  • “Finale Ultimo” – Full Company and Orchestra

In the 2001 revival, a reprise of "Getting Out of Town" followed "Lullaby of Broadway" and "With Plenty of Money and You" followed "About a Quarter to Nine", "Keep Young and Beautiful" followed "Dames", and "I Only Have Eyes for You" followed "We're in the Money".

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
1981 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated [30]
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Lee Roy Reams Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Gower Champion Won
Outstanding Costume Design Theoni V. Aldredge Won
Theatre World Award Wanda Richert Won [31]
Tony Award Best Musical Won [32]
Best Book of a Musical Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Lee Roy Reams Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Wanda Richert Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Gower Champion Nominated
Best Choreography Won
Best Costume Design Theoni V. Aldredge Nominated
Best Lighting Design Tharon Musser Nominated

Original London production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
1984 Evening Standard Award Best Musical Won [33]
Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Won [34]
Actress of the Year in a Musical Clare Leach Nominated

2001 Broadway revival

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2001 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won [35]
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Christine Ebersole Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Randy Skinner Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Douglas W. Schmidt Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Roger Kirk Nominated
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won [32]
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Christine Ebersole Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Kate Levering Nominated
Mary Testa Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Mark Bramble Nominated
Best Choreography Randy Skinner Nominated
Best Scenic Design Douglas W. Schmidt Nominated
Best Costume Design Roger Kirk Nominated
Best Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated


  1. 1 2 42nd Street History pbs.org, accessed April 8, 2011
  2. 1 2 "Floridian Renovating 42nd_Street" sptimes, April 28, 2003
  3. Kenrick, John."The Lullaby of Broadway", A Brief history Musicals 101, accessed April 8, 2011
  4. Lardner, James. "Familiar 'Street'; Hokey Tune of the '30s", The Washington Post, June 25, 1980, p. B1
  5. 1 2 Rich, Frank. "Theater:Musical 42ND Street", The New York Times, August 25, 1980, p. C7
  6. "'42nd Street'" InternetBroadwayDatabase, accessed April 9, 2011
  7. "Who Played Julian Marsh in '42nd Street'" broadwayworld.com, accessed April 8, 2011
  8. "Who Played Dorothy Brock in '42nd Street'" broadwayworld.com, accessed April 8, 2011
  9. "Ziemba credits" Internet Broadway Database, accessed April 8, 2011
  10. "'A Chorus Line' listing, 1975" Internet Broadway Database, accessed April 8, 2011
  11. Viagas, Robert. "Long Runs on Broadway" playbill.com, September 22, 2015
  12. Weil, Martin; Lardner, James; Coe, Richard L. "Gower Champion Dies as Show Opens;Champion Dies As '42nd Street' Opens in N.Y", The Washington Post, August 26, 1980, p. A1
  13. Bianco, Anthony."David Merrick" Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America's Most Infamous Block (google books), HarperCollins, 2005, ISBN 0-06-056677-9, p. 220
  14. The Wick, Exhibits
  15. "Broadwayworld listing". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  16. "Exposure" Los Angeles Magazine (google.books), August 1998, p. 42
  17. "Season History 1985" shnsf.com, accessed July 5, 2016.
  18. 1 2 Brantley, Ben."Theater Review:You've Got to Come Back a . . . You Know" The New York Times, May 3, 2001
  19. Jones, Kenneth."Meredith Patterson is New Peggy in Bway's 42nd Street Aug. 19" playbill.com, August 19, 2001
  20. 1 2 Jones, Kenneth."Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy Announced for Bway's '42nd Street', Starting May 7" playbill.com, March 23, 2004
  21. Jones, Kenneth."Tom Wopat Is the Duke of 42nd Street, Playing Julian Marsh Beginning June 21" playbill.com, June 12, 2002
  22. Steven Male. "UK Productions listing for '42nd Street'". Ukproductions.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  23. "Press Release, announcing Shanghai engagement" nederlanderworld.com, August 7, 2007
  24. "Nederlander New Century Announces Tour of Tony Award-Winning Musical '42nd Street' Beginning September 2007" Broadway China Network, accessed April 8, 2011
  25. BWW News Desk. "Westchester Broadway Theater Presents '42nd Street' With Galantich, Stanley and More, Opens 9/24".broadwayworld.com, September 8, 2009
  26. Neal, Jack."42nd Street" taps its way into the hearts of musical comedy fans at Reno's Eldorado Hotel Casino nevada-events.net, August 15, 2009
  27. Rickwald, Bethany."Dave Willetts, Marti Webb Set for UK Tour of '42nd Street' " May 15, 2012
  28. Haddock, Sharon. National Tour of '42nd Street' is set to launch at Capitol Theatre Tuesday Deseret News, September 18, 2015, p. C13
  29. "'Forty-Second Street' Quick Review, Awards, Brief History, Synopsis" tamswitmark.com, accessed April 9, 2011
  30. "Drama Desk, 1980-1981" dramadesk.com, accessed April 8, 2011
  31. "Previous Theatre World Award Recipients, 1980–81" theatreworldawards.org, accessed April 9, 2011
  32. 1 2 "'42nd Street' Tony winners and nominees" tonyawards.com, accessed April 8, 2011
  33. "Evening Standard Awards, 1984" albemarle-london.com, accessed April 9, 2011
  34. Olivier Winners, 1984 Archived October 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. olivierawards.com, accessed April 8, 2011
  35. Jones, Kenneth and Simonson, Robert."2001 Drama Desk Winners Include Producers, Proof and Mnemonic" playbill.com, May 20, 2001


Wikimedia Commons has media related to 42nd Street (musical).

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/14/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.