Though 42nd Street feels like a Broadway staple since the 1930s, this show, based on a 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes and its 1933 film adaptation, was actually created in 1980. The original cast included Jerry Orbach as Julian, Tammy Grimes as Dorothy, and Wanda Richert as Peggy. It does include songs written for the 1933 film (by songwriting legends Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer, and Harry Warren) along with some songs from other films like Gold Diggers of 1933, Dames, and Roman Scandals. The show book was written by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble.
Tragically, Champion died only ten hours before the opening-night performance. They kept the news from the cast and the press until just after the standing ovation of that evening.
The musical opened on Broadway, on August 25, 1980, at the Winter Garden Theatre, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. Tragically, Champion died only ten hours before the opening-night performance. They kept the news from the cast and the press until just after the standing ovation of that evening.
… there is always a “sunny side to every situation.”
The show had its Broadway Revival in May of 2001 At the Foxwoods Theater, running for 1,524 performances, and ran with a revised book by Mark Bramble. In true Broadway fashion, the understudy for the role of Peggy, Meredith Patterson, took over the role in August 2001.
This year marks 42nd Street’s 42 Anniversary. It is believed that backstage musicals like Kiss Me, Kate, The Bandwagon, and A Chorus Line were all influenced by 42nd Street’s book, film, or show. There is something about seeing the inner workings of the performing arts that make you appreciate live theater even more. And maybe even realize that no matter how tough it gets out there… there is always a “sunny side to every situation.”
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