“COME AND MEET THOSE DANCING FEET…” and listen to THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY at its foot stomping best! Packed with well-known, tuneful songs,42nd Street fizzes with excitement, rhythmically tapping toes and infectious enthusiasm. Audiences go home humming favourites such as “Dames”, “We’re in the Money”, “Shuffle off to Buffalo”, “Lullaby of Broadway” and, of course, “42nd Street” itself.
42nd STREET was the biggest hit in American Musical Theatre in 1980, at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York, and ran for an impressive total of 3,486-performances. This Production won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography and was nominated in 8 other categories.
4 years later, the West End production opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. By chance, on a night one of the producers happened to be in the audience, a chorus member filled in for the lead role because illness had struck both the actress playing Peggy Sawyer, and her understudy. The girl was impressive enough to be cast permanently in the role shortly afterward. Her name was Catherine Zeta-Jones. Playing opposite her was a certain Graeme Henderson, BOST’s current choreographer! This Production won its share of awards too, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical.
42nd Street opens with the auditions for Pretty Lady – a new musical written by Maggie Jones and Bert Barry, who have secured the services of top director, Julian Marsh.
A young hopeful, Peggy Sawyer, turns up late for the auditions and is sent on her way by choreographer Andy Lee, despite the efforts of love-struck Billy Lawler, the juvenile lead. Later, Julian realises his chorus is light by one girl and hires Peggy after all.
Fading star Dorothy Brock has been cast as the lead because her “sugar daddy”, Abner Dillon, will finance the show on those terms. To Julian’s dismay, Pat Denning, Dorothy’s old vaudeville partner and long-time love-interest is also on the scene. Pat is “persuaded” to leave town, and decides to head for Philadelphia.
Pretty Lady’s opening in Atlantic City is cancelled and an alternative booking is arranged… in Philadelphia! Upon seeing Pat again, Julian arranges for him to be “dealt with”. Discovering this, Peggy warns Pat in front of a drunken Dorothy, who kicks them both out of her hotel room; then realises how much Pat means to her.
During the first performance of Pretty Lady, Peggy accidently bumps into Dorothy, knocking her over. Dorothy is injured, Peggy is fired and the future of the show is in doubt.
Hearing confirmation that Dorothy’s ankle is broken, Julian declares that Pretty Lady must close. The company think that Peggy would be the ideal replacement for the lead, and convince Julian that the show can go on. Everyone dashes to the station, where they find Peggy waiting for a train back home, and plead with her to save Pretty Lady.
Peggy undertakes an intensive rehearsal schedule and is pushed to her limit in order to reopen the show the following night.
Just before curtain-up Dorothy returns, newly married to Pat, and shares her knowledge and experience with Peggy to furnish her with confidence. After receiving final instructions from Julian, Peggy steps into the limelight, and Pretty Lady is on its way to rave reviews.