A good old-fashioned overture from the extraordinary orchestra led by conductor Doug Peck precedes a slam-bang opening tap dancing number in the exuberant production of “42nd Street,” running through Feb. 9 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.
The Jan. 18 opening of the latest treasure of a show from director Rachel Rockwell provided a joyful romp into the backstage world of depression-era New York City.
Bursting with talent, great choreography, direction, set designs, costumes and music, Rockwell has once again staged a brilliant take on a classic tale.
Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 film directed by Lloyd Bacon and choreographed by the great Busby Berkeley, the story is a simple one. Young Peggy Sawyer arrives in New York City from a small town in Pennsylvania to follow her dream of hitting the big-time stage.
Even though she is too nervous to arrive on time for the chorus audition for a show being produced by the great Julian Marsh, sweet and charming Peggy (played to perfection by Laura Savage) catches the eye of Broadway idol Billy Lawlor (enchantingly portrayed by Tyler Hanes.)
Peggy gets her chance to join the chorus and is coached by Marsh’s assistant, Andy Lee (Richard Strimer, who shines with understated charisma).
With one show-stopping tune after another, including “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and the title song, “42nd Street” this stupendously cast group of hoofers performs one fabulous tap dance scene after another. Choreographer Tammy Mader has not taken any easy steps in creating these energetic and dazzling dance routines, and every dancer in the cast is up to the task.
The stunning Dina DiCostanzo is fabulous as chorus line lead, Annie.
As Dorothy Brock, a self-possessed aging actress past her prime, Catherine Lord digs deep to deliver a fabulous scene where she passes her stage torch and some sage advice to Peggy.
Larry Adams shows us a magnificently ambitious yet compassionate Julian Marsh and delivers some of the funniest lines in the show.
Nancy Voigts is hilarious as Maggie, followed closely by Michael Weber as her creative partner Bert Berry.
With set design Kevin Depinet, glorious costumes by Theresa Ham and lighting by Greg Hofmann, every aspect of this show combines to create a perfectly magical night of theater.
“42nd Street” is a highly recommended family show staged in the gorgeous and historic Paramount Theatre in Aurora. This must-see musical runs through Feb. 9. For tickets or information call the box office at 630-896-6666 or visit the Paramount Theatre website.