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Calendar >  “Come Meet Those Dancing Feet” on the Moonlight Amphitheatre Stage in “42nd Street”

“Come Meet Those Dancing Feet” on the Moonlight Amphitheatre Stage in “42nd Street”

By   /  August 21, 2023  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson   -As DJ Gray, Director and Choreographer of Moonlight’s “42nd Street” said in the program, “”42nd Street is a tap-dancing extravaganza”. This is absolutely the truth as shown by the large 38-member cast for the fourth show of Moonlight’s summer season. From the moment the curtain rises for the stage musical until the final moments on stage at the end of the show, incredible dance routines highlighted the performances on stage. This is a funny, fast-paced, award-winning musical and a great way to spend a summer evening for people of all ages. Memorable songs with wonderful performances, colorful costumes and a tremendous performance by the “42nd Street” Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Randi Rudolph, make this musical production one you will not forget.

The 1980 stage musical is based on a 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes, from a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble. Lyrics are by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer and music by Harry Warren. There was also a 1933 film adaptation of the musical. “42nd Street” won 1981 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography and was nominated for six other categories. It also won a Drama Desk Award for choreography and costume design. The musical comedy opened on Broadway August of 1980 at the Winter Garden Theatre, later moving to the Majestic Theatre, then to the St. James Theatre. The musical would run for 3,489 performances on Broadway.

Photos by Karli Cadel

The storyline for the musical, set in 1933 New York and Philadelphia, surrounds a driven director, Julian Marsh, doing everything he can to save his production of “Pretty Lady”, co-written by Maggie Jones and Bert Barry. As “42nd Street” begins, tap dancers are auditioning for his musical, under the direction of choreographer Andy Lee and Stage Manager Mac. His main concern is dealing with a prima donna actress who is his lead, Dorothy Brock, and the fact that she can’t dance very well supported by her sugar daddy boyfriend, who is also Julian’s financial backer. Dorothy’s longtime boyfriend, Pat Denning, will also complicate Julian’s life. Aspiring dancer Peggy Sawyer, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, shows up late for auditions and through a series of events will end up as the lead in the production of “Pretty Lady”.   Along the way, Peggy and Julian will have their own complications and members of the cast will play a huge role in keeping the production on track. Throughout the musical the audience gets to watch amazing tap dancing and musical routines as “Pretty Lady” goes through the steps to prepare for the opening of the show in New York City.

The key to any production is the selection of the cast for the various characters in the show and Director DJ Gray and her Design Team have done a great job of selecting the company of actors and actresses for the production. Ema Nossal returns to the Moonlight Stage as aspiring Chorus girl Peggy Sawyer. Ema has a powerful voice and is an amazing tap dancer and is featured in numerous numbers. Playing the no-nonsense director Julian Marsh is Patrick Cummings. Patrick gives a strong performance especially in the “Lullaby of Broadway” number. Tracy Lore plays the past-her-prime actress Dorothy. Tracy has wonderful performances singing “I Only Have Eyes for You”, “Act One Finale” and “About a Quarter to Nine”, which she sings with Ema Nossal.

A stand-out tap dancer in many of the numbers is Ian Black, who plays Billy Lawlor, the tenor and dance lead. Bets Malone, as Maggie Jones, and Jamie Torcellini, as Bert Berry, provide several comedic moments on stage, especially in their performance in the sleeper train to “Getting Out of Town”. Other standout tap dancers include E.Y. Washington, who plays Andy Lee, “Pretty Lady’s” choreographer, and Ellie Barrett Harvey who plays “Anytime” Annie. The entire Ensemble brought the audience to their feet at the final number and at the end of all of the large dance numbers during the performance loud applause greeted the dancers.

Assisting Director DJ Gray in the staging of “42nd Street” is Managing Director Mike Bradford, Stage Manager Lauren Paris, Lighting Designer Ryan Marsh, Sound Designer Jim Zadai, Hair and Wig Designer Peter Herman, Costume Coordinator Heather Megill, Properties Coordinator Bonnie Duren, Music Director and Conductor Dr. Randi Rudolph and Producing Artistic Director Steven Glaudini.

This is a big stage, impressive musical, highlighted by wonderful tap-dancing numbers. Moonlight Stage is the perfect stage for this musical. You will recognize many of the songs in the musical and leave amazed with the dancing on stage. “42nd Street” runs until September 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at www.moonlightstage.com or call 760-724-2110. Next up at The Moonlight is “Saturday Night Fever The Musical”, beginning on September 13. Season 43 has also been announced for Moonlight beginning on May 9,, 2024, with ”Into the Woods”.

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