July 8 (preview), 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23 & 24
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble
Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes
Directed and Choreographed for MAR by Jen Turey
Musical Direction by Stephanie Gaumer Klein
Winner of 2 Tony Awards (Best Musical and Best Choreography)
Original Broadway Production
In July 1980, the musical premiered in out-of-town tryouts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. After six previews, the Broadway production opened on August 25, 1980 at the Winter Garden Theatre, eventually moving to the Majestic and then the St. James before it finally completed its 3,486-performance run, the eleventh longest run in Broadway history. (Frank Rich called this a sign of the "shift of power" on Broadway, as the show had to leave the Winter Garden to make way for Cats and the Majestic to accommodate The Phantom of the Opera.)
The original cast included Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh, Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock, Wanda Richert as Peggy Sawyer, and Lee Roy Reams as Billy Lawlor. Replacements later in the run included Barry Nelson, and Don Chastain as Julian, Elizabeth Allen, Dolores Gray, and Millicent Martin as Dorothy, and Lisa Brown (Nola Reardon of Guiding Light and Iva Snyder of As The World Turns) and Karen Ziemba as Peggy. The show's designers, Robin Wagner (sets), Theoni V. Aldredge (costumes), and Tharon Musser (lights) were the same team who had designed A Chorus Line.
The opening night triumph (August 25, 1980) was overshadowed by tragedy. Following eleven curtain calls, Merrick went onstage and stated, "This is tragic," drawing gales of laughter from the ecstatic audience. He went on to explain that Champion had died of cancer just hours before the performance, and his shocking announcement, made before an army of reporters and cameramen, drew a stunned reaction. The producer had advised only Bramble of Champion's death and managed to keep the news a secret from the cast (including Richert, the director's girlfriend), crew, and the public prior to his announcement. 42nd Street proved to be not only Champion's last show but Merrick's final success.
Auditions for 1933's newest show, Pretty Lady, are nearly over when Peggy Sawyer, fresh off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania, arrives in New York City with valise in hand. Billy Lawlor, already cast as one of the juvenile leads, notices Peggy and hopes to charm her into accepting a date with him. He informs her she has missed the audition but he can help her bypass that process, but choreographer Andy Lee has no time for Billy's latest conquest and tells her, "Beat it, toots." Embarrassed and flustered, Peggy rushes off, only to slam right into director Julian Marsh himself.
One-time star Dorothy Brock, indignant at being asked to audition for a role, is reassured by Julian that he merely wants to make sure the songs are in her key. Despite his feeling Dorothy is a prima donna past her prime, he agrees to cast her in order to get financial backing from her wealthy beau Abner Dillon. Outside of the theatre, writer Maggie and chorus girls Anytime Annie, Phyllis, and Lorraine take pity on Peggy and invite her to join them for lunch and some advice. They encourage her to show them a dance routine that is witnessed by a love-struck Julian, who decides there might be room for one more chorus girl after all.
At a pre-production party, Julian learns that Dorothy is seeing old boyfriend Pat Denning behind Abner's back. Knowing this could destroy the show's future, he decides to put an end to the affair. One phone call to an unsavory acquaintance and Denning is visited by a couple of thugs who convince him to break it off with Dorothy. Soon after the show's cast heads to Philadelphia for the out-of-town tryout.
On opening night, Peggy trips and crashes into Dorothy, knocking her to the stage. Julian fires the young chorine on the spot.
Dorothy's ankle is broken, and the show may close. The chorus kids, certain Peggy could fill the lead role, find Julian and tell him that Peggy's a fresh young face who can sing and dance circles around Brock. Julian decides it is worth a shot and rushes off to the train station to catch Peggy before she departs.
At Philadelphia's Broad Street Station, Julian apologizes to Peggy and asks her to stay and star in Pretty Lady, but she responds that she has had enough of show business and wants to go home to Allentown. Dumbfounded, Julian tries to coax her with the words "Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway...." After the cast joins him in the serenade, Peggy decides to accept his offer.
Forced to learn the part in two days, Peggy is on the verge of a nervous breakdown when she has an unexpected visit from Dorothy, who has been watching the rehearsals and realizes beneath her nervous exterior, Peggy is good, "maybe even better than I would have been." She even offers a little friendly advice on how to perform the last song, "About a Quarter to Nine."
The opening night curtain is about to rise when Julian, who is completely in love with Peggy at this point, stops by for a last minute lip-lock and pep talk in which he utters the now iconic line, "You're going out there a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" The show is a huge success sure to catapult Peggy into stardom. In addition, even though she is invited to and expected to attend the official opening night party, Peggy decides to go to the chorus party instead. Julian is left alone on stage with only a single ghost light casting his huge shadow on the back wall. He quietly begins to sing, "Come and meet those dancing feet on the avenue I'm taking you to... 42nd Street."
Young and Healthy
Go Into Your Dance
You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me
Getting Out of Town
I Know Now
I Know Now (Reprise)
We're in the Money
Act I Finale
Sunny Side to Every Situation
Lullaby of Broadway
About a Quarter to Nine
Shuffle Off to Buffalo
42nd Street (Reprise)
Julian Marsh - Tom Morris (Danbury)
Peggy Sawyer - Megan Kelley (Stratford)
Billy Lawlor - Billy Hicks (New Milford)
Dorothy Brock - Juliette Garrison Koch (Millbrook NY)
Maggie Jones - Jane Matson (Danbury)
Bert Berry - Donald Birely (New York)
Abner Dillon - Tom Matson (Danbury)
Pat Denning - Carl LePere (Carmel NY)
Andy Lee - Kevin Downing (Hamden)
Anytime Annie - Emma Downing
Phyllis - Amanda Eventoff (Newtown)
Lorraine - Trisha Carr (Orange)
Ensemble: Margaret Buzak and Casey Maher (Bethel); Jen A’Hearn, Rob Onorato and Kelsey Reiff (Brookfield); Brianna Henley and Kieran Minor (Danbury); Christina Donovan (Naugatuck); Vincent McCoy (New Hartford); Brenna Calderara, Lindsay McCoy and Sarah McMahon (Newtown); Michelle Funaro (North Haven); Ron Blois (Sherman); and Kimberly Sanders (Waterbury). NY residents include Janice Gabriel (Brewster) and Nina Transfeld (Wappingers Falls).