42nd Street flaunts wow-worthy dance
The hoofers in this backstage musical are spectacular as they tap dance away the fear of the Depression in a Broadway-musical-in-training. I could watch the company dance all night. Sadly, the script calls for the music to stop periodically and for the acting to begin. That's when it gets troublesome. The characters are so paper thin that the merest breeze would rip them open, revealing that there's nothing beneath. The musical, a 1980 creation based on the 1933 movie musical, takes us on the journey of Pretty Lady from rehearsals to opening night, while a young chorus girl becomes an unexpected star. If you are looking at a portrait of the pain and anxiety of a big-time show, you would be best to take in A Chorus Line. In the case of 42nd Street, the overarching story has become such a cliché that it is hard to take much of the proceedings seriously, though Larissa Gritti as Peggy tries her hardest to make us care. That doesn't happen nearly as much with the rest of the company, who have trouble rising above a mediocre community-theater level. Practically none of the show's humor lands, while characters that are supposed to be endearing are just annoying. Thankfully, there are the production numbers, which use the Harry Warren and Al Dubin songs to great effect, building to a truly epic and engrossing finale. Pity the non-musical parts of the show weren't up to the same standard.
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