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Review: ‘42nd Street’ is a wonderful musical tribute

Nicole Miller stars as ingenue Peggy Sawyer who is turned instar overnight musical '42nd Street' Theatre Center Munster Ind.

Nicole Miller stars as the ingenue Peggy Sawyer, who is turned into a star overnight in the musical "42nd Street" at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind. | Johnny Knight photo

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‘42ND STREET’

◆ Through Oct. 21

◆ Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road,
Munster, Ind.

◆ Tickets, $38-$42

◆ (800) 511-1552;
TheatreAtTheCenter.com

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Updated: October 22, 2012 6:11AM



It’s a high-octane, kick-up-your-heels tap-dancing extravaganza, but “42nd Street” has so much more than fancy footwork going for it.

The sizzling revival of the musical at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind., also offers an inspirational, beat-the-odds, showbiz story that is an antidote for our tough times.

Like the 1933 Busby Berkeley film from which the stage musical was adapted by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, “42nd Street” is set against the depths of the Depression.

This makes the musical particularly relevant now.

The show opens as director Julian Marsh has created many jobs for the new musical comedy he plans to open on Broadway.

But one thing after another goes wrong, and when the show’s demanding diva breaks a leg, Marsh turns to an inexperienced chorus girl to save the jobs and the show.

There are delicious musical numbers by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in “42nd Street.”

“Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” “We’re in the Money” and the title tune come through with joyful exuberance under William Underwood’s masterful musical direction.

There’s no doubt that this tap-crazed musical features a dazzling rat-a-tat tap style that is irresistible.

Close your eyes during one of the crescendo chorus-line numbers and you will hear the clicking synchronization of dozens of dancing feet.

It’s a credit to choreographer Linda Fortunato and the show’s energetic hoofers that the riveting tap is so precision-perfect.

This revival, which has been lovingly directed by William Pullinsi, is a wonderful tribute to the exhilarating excitement of the grand Broadway musicals. It’s also a celebration of some exceptional artistic talent.

Nicole Miller dances up a storm as the shy and unknown star-is-born Peggy Sawyer, who has to learn a dozen dance numbers in two days.

But then what woman wouldn’t dance her heart out for handsome, golden-voiced Larry Adams, who plays Marsh, the intense theater director in love with musical comedy?

Also contributing choice portraits are Paula Scrofano, who is delightfully comedic as aging diva Dorothy Brock, and Dale Benson, who is a hoot as Abner Dillon, Brock’s befuddled sugar daddy.

They don’t make great shows like this anymore, which is all the more reason to rush out to see it.

Betty Mohr is a local freelance writer.

SPECIAL EVENTS

2nd Saturday Symposia

Set for 3 p.m. Sept. 22, this behind-the-scenes preshow discussion will be led by a distinguished expert and is designed to enrich the theatergoing experience.

Attendees can add the preshow discussion to their theater tickets for no charge, but reservations are required.

Broadway or Bust Dinner/Theatre Event

Slated for Oct. 4, a preshow dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. across from the theater lobby.

The menu will include broccoli cheese soup, roast sirloin of beef with jardiniere gravy or tomato pesto rubbed chicken breast, Duchess potatoes with chives, glazed carrots, and blueberry-smothered pound cake.

The evening will includes surprises. The $50 cost includes dinner and a theater ticket.

The performance will be staged at 7:30 p.m.



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