Review: Broadway touring production of ‘42nd Street’ in Salt Lake City is high-energy entertainment

First Published      Last Updated Sep 28 2015 10:06 am

Broadway Across America » Appealing musical barely fits on the stage at the Capitol Theatre.

Broadway Across America's production of "42nd Street" is so chock full of entertainment that it barely fits on the stage.

Seriously. When three dozen cast members are tap dancing up a storm at the Capitol Theatre, they fill the entire stage to overflowing. There's a bit of suspense while you worry that one or more of them might fall into the pit.

The rousing revival of the 1980 stage musical — which won the 1981 Tony as best musical and the 2001 Tony as best revival — brings high energy, laughs and some great singing and dancing to Salt Lake City.

Adapted from the 1933 movie musical of the same title, the story is old-fashioned and, to some degree, irrelevant. It's 1932, and in the depths of the Depression the gang is trying to mount a Broadway musical.

The man in charge is dictatorial director Julian Marsh (Matthew J. Taylor), but his attempts to make "Pretty Lady" into a hit are hampered by the fact that he's saddled with a star, Dorothy Brock (Kaitlin Lawrence), who's not much of a dancer. But her sugar daddy is backing the show — although he doesn't know that Dorothy has a boyfriend, Pat Denning (DJ Canaday).

Enter Peggy Sawyer (Caitlin Ehlinger), a fresh-faced kid from Allentown, Penn., who's just loaded with talent. She catches the eye of the male lead, Billy Lawlor (Blake Stadnik), and, well, you can see where this is going.

The period music includes a number of familiar tunes — "I Only Have Eyes for You," ""We're in the Money," "Lullaby of Broadway," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and, of course, "42nd Street." The musical numbers are terrifically choreographed and performed by a cast outfitted in glittering costumes.

At times, there are so many sequins onstage it's almost blinding.

This is not one of those touring companies with a bunch of familiar names in the cast. This touring company has … well, it doesn't have any familiar names.

Which doesn't hurt the show at all. The high points in "42nd Street" are the production numbers, and those production numbers do a great job of capturing the spirit of the original Busby Berkeley spectaculars in the 1933 film.

The "42nd Street" production doesn't lack fine individual performances, however, including 18-year-old Ehlinger, who's well cast as Peggy.

If you're a fan of old movie musicals — if you're looking for just good old-fashioned singing and dancing — you can't do better than "42nd Street."


Twitter: @ScottDPierce



‘42nd Street’

When » Reviewed Wednesday; continues through Sunday, Sept. 27: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where » Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets » $32.50-$65 (plus ticketing and venue fees); arttix.org, 801-355-2787