Community Players current show in their 91st season is the Tony Award winning musical "42nd Street". It is loosely based on the 1933 musical movie with the same name. The stage musical version opened on August 25, 1980 and ran until January 8, 1989 and starred Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh, and Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock. "42nd Street" is the tale of the up and coming chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who arrives in NYC seeking a career on Broadway. Unfortunately she misses the audition for Pretty Lady but suave tenor, Billy Lawlor, is attracted to Peggy and gets her to sing with him to get noticed by Julian Marsh who puts her into the show after she almost knocks him over like a football lineman. During an out of town tryout in Philadelphia, Peggy accidentally trips and pushes Dorothy Brock, the prima-donna leading lady, causing her to fall and break her ankle. After this, Julian fires Peggy who decides to head back home to Allentown,PA. Billy and the chorus convince Julian to persuade Peggy to stay with the show and take over the lead. They convince her to return while singing "Lullaby of Broadway" and Peggy becomes a star. Director Andrew Bobola, music director Ron Procopio and choreographer Tim Reid infuse this show with the energy needed for this big extravaganza musical. The unbelievable tap dancing and vocal prowess of this cast will leave the audience cheering in the aisles.
Andrew casts topnotch people in this musical. However since this is a dancing show, the choreography is of utmost importance and Tim Reid's expertise shines through and is astounding especially in the opening tap dance, "We're in the Money", "Lullaby of Broadway" and "42nd Street" in Act 2. Tim's dance's include all the different styles of tap plus the Charleston, kick line, wing steps and soft shoe to name a few. Ron and his orchestra are terrific and vocalists are as well especially in "Dames", "Lullaby" and the title number. Scenic design is by John Ricci with set design by Andrew and the multitude of gorgeous costumes are by Pam Jackson and the lighting is by Dan Fisher.
Paul Oliver tackles the role of Julian Marsh, the hard ass director who builds Peggy's confidence in herself to become a star. This role was originally played by Jerry Orbach who I saw in 1980. He sings the lead in "Lullaby of Broadway" and the finale number "42nd Street". His teaching Peggy, that it was grand, grand segment is hilarious and he shows off his comic side . Playing the bitchy diva, Dorothy Brock is Eve Marie Webster. She is topnotch as this tough chick and all her costumes are breathtakingly beautiful. She rants and raves about wanting to be treated as the star and she is reminiscent of a 1930's Cruella Deville. Her renditions of "The Shadow Waltz", "Getting to be a Habit with Me" and the duet "About a Quarter to Nine" are wonderful but her best number is the tear jerking "I Know Now" when she realizes the man for her is Pat Denning. This is a terrific torch song. Sheila Senko shines as Peggy Sawyer. She infuses the character with the necessary charm and naive behavior to pull off this role. Sheila does a topnotch job in "Young and Healthy", a Charleston-dance duet, "Go into Your Dance'' group number, where Peggy dances better than the other three girls, the rehearsal scenes with Julian Marsh where she learns how to act after he kisses her several times and her best number, "42nd Street" with the chorus. She does a wonderful job in this show.
One of the best voices in this show is Filipe Fernandes as Billy. His voice soars off the charts in "Dames" and "Lullaby of Broadway". Filipe gets to show off a more tender side as he sings the reprise of "I Know Now''. He also is a fantastic dancer who gets to strut his stuff all night long especially impressive is the "42nd Street" finale when he is dressed up as a sailor who gets shot while dancing with Peggy. Two scene stealing performers are Kara Marziali as Maggie and Tim Reid as Andy. Kara shows off her strong belting voice and dancing skills in "Go into Your Dance", "Getting to be a Habit with Me" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo". Tim leads the cast in the opening audition dance song, "Getting Out of Town" with the chorus, "We're in the Money" and "Dames". Joe Wilkicki as Bert sings "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" while dressed as the groom. Sarah DeMoranville as Anytime Annie leads the chorus in "There's a Sunny Side to Every Situation" and plays the bride in "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" as well as tap dance with Jana Moroff as Phyllis and Stephanie Bobola as Lorraine. Dorothy's two suitors are played by John Ricci as Abner Dillon, her rich sugar daddy and by Sandy Remington as Pat Denning, her true love and vaudeville partner. Kudos to all of this hard working cast. So for a trip back to the 1930's and a rollicking good time, be sure to catch "42nd Street" in Pawtucket.