The hit Broadway show, “42nd Street,” opens on Venice Theatre’s MainStage will run through March 24.
This 1980 stage adaptation of the classic 1933 film features high-energy show stoppers like “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and of course “42nd Street.” At the 1981 Tony Awards “42nd Street” won Best Musical and Best Choreography.
Set in the time of the Great Depression, “42nd Street” tells the story of Peggy Sawyer (Ashley Figlow), a talented young performer with stars in her eyes who gets her big break on Broadway. Sawyer arrives in New York City from her hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, armed with her tap shoes and big dreams. Her talent catches the eye of legendary Broadway director Julian Marsh (Tim Wisgerhof), who gives her a spot in the chorus of Pretty Lady, his newest show. The show stars Dorothy Brock (Dawn Carpenter), the somewhat-past-her-prime Broadway diva who takes an instant dislike to the new girl in the cast. When Brock is injured during the show’s previews, Pretty Lady looks like it will have to close, unless a new girl talented enough to lead the show can be found — someone like Sawyer.
Sawyer’s rise from showgirl to star is the stuff of show business dreams. “42nd Street” is full of crowd-pleasing tap dances, show-stopping production numbers and familiar 1930’s standards from prolific songwriters Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Warren was the first major American songwriter to write primarily for film. He wrote more than 800 songs during his career.
Venice Theatre brings the songs and dances to life with a strong production team lead by Director Steven Flaa. Denise Hoff provides music direction and Geena Ravella the challenging choreography. The 1930’s costumes are designed by Amanda McGee. Venice Theatre’s resident scenic designer Tim Wisgerhof is on double duty as the leading man and scenic designer.
Flaa said, “I’ve always loved classic films and ‘42nd Street’ is one of the best. Our version of the musical will embody the feeling of the original film. There are big flashy numbers, but the story itself is gritty. These dancers are trying to survive the depression in New York City. They’re somewhat desperate and hungry and will do anything to get Julian Marsh’s show on its feet.”
Performances of this tap-infused musical are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $36 to $38 for adults, $17 for college students, and $15 for children and teens through 12th grade. They are available online at www.venicestage.com or by calling the box office at 941-488-1115.
Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before show time.