By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com
Without much Broadway experience, but packing huge amounts of enthusiasm, the sunny cast of “42nd Street” presented by Broadway in Tucson makes all that tap dancing feel light as a bowl of Rice Krispies in Centennial Hall.
More than 20 pairs of happy feet are forever snapping and popping on 42nd Street with a delightful clarity you don’t always get in many productions of this classic from the Great White Way.
This is the show where impresario Julian Marsh tells chorus girl Peggy Sawyer, “You're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star! .”
Mathew J. Taylor has the Julian role this time, filling out his pinstripe suit with a believable arrogance that eventually melts as Peggy (Caitlin Ehlinger) gets her footing in front of that packed house -- and does indeed come back a star.
It has been a story audiences have loved for nearly a century. Ehlinger does nothing to diminish that appeal. In the first four-fifths of this musical, she is the shy show biz rookie and unappreciated kid from Allentown.
Dorothy Brock (Kaitlin Lawrence) is the diva making demands (and has the domineering sugar daddy to back her up). She's not exactly the nemesis of Peggy, but she's not one who will ever step aside or share the spotlight, either.
While it is always the tap dancing I look forward to most, those songs from the 1930s written by Harry Warren an Al Durbin have been equally captivating to many millions of fans.
The Broadway show, which opened in 1980, is adapted from the 1933 movie starring Ruby Keeler as Peggy Sawyer. Some of the songs in the show were written after the film was released, became hits and made their way into the stage version produced by David Merrick nearly 50 years later.
The song list for Broadway includes “We're in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” "You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me" and of course “42nd Street.”
Nightly performances continue through April 3, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday in
Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the University of Arizona campus.
Tickets are $29-$100. For details and reservations: www.broadwayintucson.com