Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review of 42nd Street (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called 42nd Street. The book was by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble based on the novel by Bradford Ropes. The music was by Harry Warren and the lyrics were by Al Dubin. It was directed by Mark Bramble and the musical staging and new choreography were by Randy Skinner. It was about this show called Pretty Lady, which was very over-the-top, and parts of 42nd Street reminded me a lot of Singing in the Rain because there was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff and the style of the music and the dancing was similar. There was this girl named Peggy Sawyer (Caitlin Ehlinger) and she wants to be in the show as a chorus girl, but it seems like she has missed her chance, but then she gets cast in the chorus because she is too good to pass up and she has the help of Maggie Jones (Britte Steele), Annie (Natalia Lepore Hagan), Phyllis (Mallory Nolting), Lorraine (Vanessa Mitchell), and Andy Lee (Lamont Brown). Also, Billy Lawlor, the tenor in Pretty Lady, is kind of sweet on Peggy. But she sort of likes someone else who is a little less stuck up than he is: Julian Marsh (Matthew J. Taylor), the director, and he likes her back. Dorothy Brock (Kaitlin Lawrence) was the lead and during their first performance she hurts herself and can't continue with the process, but she decides to blame Peggy because she think Peggy likes her boyfriend Pat Denning (DJ Canaday), who she shouldn't even have as a boyfriend anyway because she is in a relationship with Abner Dillon (Mark Fishback). This show is about show biz, how hard it can be and how cutthroat, but also how fun and exciting it can be. I liked this show because it was very exciting and it had a lot of fabulous tap dancing.

I really liked the dancing. It was very outgoing, enthusiastic, and a little silly. One of my favorite dances was "Go Into Your Dance." It showed a lot of the actors' talents and the characters' talents. They go to this place called the Gypsy Teakettle and they dance all the way there, which is kind of like me on the street all the time! The waiters are kind of staring at them and then they kind of get into it and they dance over to the table and give them their tea. I also thought it was funny in this scene that Peggy didn't know what a sugar daddy was. She thought it was just a father! Of course, I am 11 and I even know what that is. So that kind of shows how innocent she is. I also loved the dancing in "We're in the Money." They had these outfits (costumes by Roger Kirk) that were made completely out of money, which were fabulous. And they had these huge coins that were boards that they would tap dance on, which I thought was amazing. I thought it was kind of hilarious that no matter what kind of move they were doing, even if they'd done it a bunch of times, the audience would go crazy when they put their hands up in jazz hands. I think that is funny because it is a very simple change in what they were doing, but it seemed like a big deal to the audience.

There was a song called "Dames" and one called "Keep Young and Beautiful" and they were both pretty sexist songs. "Dames" was about how gorgeous women are and how there are a lot of different types of dames, but you don't have to remember their names. But I think you should remember their names because even if you are in a slight romantic relationship with somebody you should try to remember their names. Women deserve to be people with names all the time and not something to just be looked at. "Keep Young and Beautiful" was all about how you have to keep young and beautiful for someone to love you. You don't have to be stunning for someone to love you, because looks aren't everything. But the song says you have to be beautiful or you'll never be loved. Women don't have any control over their youth. I think it is a good idea to be healthy, but you can't stay young forever. It is sexist because it is saying that the only important thing about women is their looks and women are responsible for keeping beautiful until they get husbands. This show is about a sexist time and I don't feel like the people who wrote the musical were necessarily sexist. But I still don't like sexism.

"With Plenty of Money and You" was a song about how if I was rich and the depression wasn't going on I still wouldn't be happy unless I had you. It was super fun to watch and it was one of my favorite numbers. It was super complicated because all the tap moves were very fast and they also had to keep in time with the music and with each other. If they didn't do that, it would seem a little sloppy, but they did it very well. This song reminds me that the show was set in the Great Depression. The reason why musicals like Pretty Lady, which are big and overly enthusiastic with almost no plot, were so popular during the depression was because everyone was so sad and they needed to not think about how none of them had much money and their lives were kind of crappy. 42nd Street also lets you get immersed in the story and forget about your troubles!

People who would like this show are people who like dames, tap dancing for your tea, and outfits literally made of money. I think people should go see this show. It was super fun to watch and you will tap along with most of the show. I really loved it!

Photos: Chris Bennion

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