Sitting in the audience during a Broadway-caliber production of 42nd Street is like stepping into a time machine.
The production will transport you to New York City in 1933 where a noted director tries to mount a musical extravaganza at the height of the Great Depression.
The history behind the show will transport you to Broadway in 1980. That’s when the musical debuted at the Winter Garden Theatre.
At the time, producers were capitalizing on a wave of nostalgia. That wave was started by revivals of the musicals No, No, Nanette, Irene, and Very Good Eddie.
42nd Street ended its historic run in 1989. During its time on the Great White Way, the show moved twice. The first time it moved was to make room for Cats. The second time was to accommodate Phantom of the Opera.
In a way, 42nd Street marked Broadway’s transition away from romance and optimism to the more realistic worlds of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Les Misérables, and Rent.
Music was written by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin. The book was penned by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble.
The show’s director, Gower Champion, died on opening night, hours before the curtain rose. His death was kept a secret from cast and crew until the end of the show.