42nd Street Musical
The 1930s may have been known as the Depression Decade, but you couldn’t tell by watching characters perform in the Broadway hit musical "42nd Street." The musical, winner of six Tony Awards that ran for 3,486 performances on Broadway, is being presented by the Theatre and Music departments at Cowley.
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17-19 and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 20, all in the Robert Brown Theatre inside the Brown Center for Arts, Sciences and Technology. Tickets are $7 for the show or $15 for the dinner and show. A dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19 in the Earle N. Wright Community Room and Gallery. Tickets may be purchased through the Sid L. Regnier Bookstore (620) 441-5277.
The show is set in 1933 New York and Philadelphia. 42nd Street is the story of a starry-eyed young actress, Peggy Sawyer, who has come to audition for the new Julian Marsh musical that is about to open on Broadway. Unfortunately, Peggy is too nervous to enter the theatre for the audition. She does catch the eye of the male lead, Billy, who encourages the director to let her in when the chorus comes up a girl short. After Peggy faints from a hard day of rehearsal, Dorothy, the star of the show, thinks that Pat, her boyfriend, likes Peggy a little too much. On opening night, Peggy accidentally pushes Dorothy. As a result, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and Peggy is fired. Peggy heads to the train station, but Julian decides to pull her back with the "Lullaby of Broadway" to save the show.
Deborah Layton, director of Cowley’s Theatre Department, said the musical is a "fun, stylized piece that relies heavily on singing and dancing." "The cast is all happy cheeky people," Layton said with a laugh. "The story line is almost secondary. It’s really a show within a show." The show in which auditions are being held is called "Pretty Lady." "This is an exciting musical for us to take on because there’s a lot of tap dancing and a lot of music from that era," Layton said. "We wanted it to be big for our (the college’s) 80th anniversary. The show really called to us because of the time period." A cast of 24-30 students is being planned, Layton said. "All cast members have big responsibilities," she said. Lots of bright colors will be used on the set, which will give the audience a chance to see the inner workings of a real musical. "You’ll get to see people carrying back and forth sets and ladders," Layton said. "The audience will get to see the hub-bub of the business."
Layton is being assisted by Director of Vocal Music Connie Donatelli, Director of Instrumental Music Gary Gackstatter, and Director of Technical Theatre Scott MacLaughlin. Former Cowley Danceline coach Lana Sleeper will be working with the students on their dance moves. The show "Pretty Lady" opens with "We’re In The Money." Shortly afterward, Dorothy rushes on stage to lead the Act I finale. She is accidentally knocked down by Peggy, and the rest of the performance is cancelled. After Julian rushes to the train station to convince Peggy to return, she has 36 hours to learn 25 pages, six songs, and 10 dance numbers.