Director - Vara Williams
Musical Director - Martin Paterson
Choreography - Suzanne Hall & Louise Hodson
Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, and music by Harry Warren
Dorothy Brock - Georgina Bottriell
Peggy Sawyer - Alex Boughton
Maggie Jones - Suzanne Hall
Ann Reilly (Anytime Annie) - Katie Hickson
Phyllis Dale - Jo Short
Lorraine Flemming - Claire Crowther
Gladys - Claire Smith
Diane Lorimer - Juliet Surridge
Ethel - Anne Croudass
Julian Marsh - Peter Barber
Bert Barry - Adrian Hickford
Billy Lawlor - Dan Hickson
Andy Lee - Mark Smith
Pat Denning - Jim Glaister
Abner Dillon - Graham Light
Mac - Colin Paice
Debbie Cleary, Lisa Evans, Lizzie Gilbert, Pamela Jones, Alan Matheson, Anne McDonald, Vernon Tottle
Louise Hodson, Claire Smith, Lyndsay Smith, Ceri Erskine, Jo Short, Gill Parry, Anne Croudass, Claire Crowther, Juliet Surridge, Nicky Moore
Awards and Nominations
Nominations of Daily Echo Curtain Call award for Best Actor in a Musical - Peter Barber
The all singing and dancing “42nd Street” sees Julian Marsh’s (Peter Barber) Broadway hit, “Pretty Lady” saved by naive and star struck Peggy Sawyer (Alexandra Boughton) when she takes the lead after the star, Dorothy Brock (Georgina Bottriell) breaks her ankle. The show is led by the characterful contrasts between jaded diva, Dorothy and the imposing Marsh, who is softened by the wide-eyed and talented Peggy. Supported by Maggie Jones (Suzanne Hall), Billy Lawler (Dan Hickson) and Abner Dillon (Graham Light) and a host of others, both principal and chorus, this show has pace and energy, which draws in and lifts the audience.
The choreography (Suzanne Hall and Louise Hodson) was superb, with polished moves and great synchronisation, which complemented the well sung numbers. The costumes worked well and gave a 1930’s feel. The show in itself was excellent but some irritating technical hitches caused distractions throughout. Thankfully they didn’t spoil the overall enjoyment. Ends Saturday.
Southampton Operatic Newsletter
42nd Street is a show that took me back to my childhood and rainy Saturday afternoons. Then I used to watch a seemingly endless supply of backstage musicals where the chorus girl became the star, long scenes of dance rehearsals with the girls in shorts and a kindly old guy on the old joanna in the corner, love interest of male star and chorus girl, would the show succeed/open/get a date in “Philly”/or flop and plenty of hot, toe-tapping numbers with great songs. This show has all this and WOS seems to have had a good time putting it on.
It was very lively from the literal “curtain-raiser” of a line of half legs tapping brilliantly right through to the end. OK the pace dropped occasionally due to some clunky scene changes but hard to see how to get round that given the technical demands of the show. The Cases’ design of set with the raised platform and steps either side allowed for imaginative use of height which gave the choreography an extra dimension and was well used throughout. The lovely setting on the sleeper train of Shuffle off to Buffalo was a feat of design and was great fun.
All the principals, both major and minor, shone in their roles but none more brightly than Peter Barber as the formidable Julian Marsh. We waited an entire act to hear him sing, but boy it was worth the wait. His interpretation of Lullaby of Broadway would have out Satcmo’d old Satchel Mouth himself. Absolutely stunning. His final moments under the spotlight on the darkened stage wrapping up with a simple, slow reprise of 42nd Street was an incredibly powerful finale.
I also loved all the attention to detail. The chorus looked fantastic – even the little green skirts – not an easy look to pull off. They had lots of changes of costume, in relays, and some were very quick! The hair and make-up were really well done and helped set the era but I was most impressed by the accessories. The luggage, vanity cases, gloves and hats added real sparkle and authenticity.
The band had a good time with Martin Paterson taking everything at his usual brisk pace. Terry thought it all too loud, but conceded he is getting on a bit. Some of the lower register notes were a bit dodgy/weak but at least they didn’t have a male chorus to worry about.
I understand that in a case of life imitating art one of the leading ladies has been taken ill and is in hospital so there is a shuffle round of the cast for the rest of the run. I wish them luck with that.
Some special mentions. I had my money’s worth when I saw Vernon Tottle dancing on a dime, surrounded by a bevy of girls tapping their hearts out – superb. And the biggest smile on the stage belonged to Gill Parry who stood out for that very reason.
The biggest whoops and hollers go to all those involved in the big dance numbers. The choreography was challenging enough to be effective while the dancers made it look easy. I had a hugely enjoyable evening out. It was a triumph and a tribute to all those old Saturday afternoon movies.
I enjoyed the production. It was very lively and moved at a good speed with no “flat” bits. The space was well used and the stage never seemed over crowded.
The cast members were all excellent, and I think Katie gave an extremely good performance. Alexandra was a perfect Peggy, a very nice dancer and good acting skills. The men were all in character too. Peter was quite commanding as Julian Marsh and the dancers and chorus gave excellent support.
The choreography was excellent, and very well executed. I was very impressed with the standard of tap-dancing. A few more “chorus boys” would have made it even better, but I’m a realist, and understand the difficulty in finding able men!
The band played really well, very much in the style of a show orchestra and the sound was absolutely brilliant during the dance routines. Unfortunately they didn’t keep the volume down while the principals were singing and it was almost impossible to hear the lyrics.
I liked the set. It saved an awful lot of scene shifting, which can be very tedious in multi-scene shows. Perhaps a little more “glitter” could have made the show numbers more glamorous. The lighting was excellent, and again made the scene changes seem very easy.
In the main the costumes were very good, colourful and in keeping with the era, with very attractive dresses for Dorothy Brock and the other “lovely ladies”. However the dancers’ costumes for “We’re in the Money” were really awful. They looked very cheap and badly fitting, and rather spoiled the effect.
Altogether this was a very good production. It was very slick and the cast were all confident with what they had to do. It was well received by the audience, who, like me, enjoyed the show.
Thank you for inviting me.