42nd Street

I don’t know what it is about tap dancing, but I can rarely get enough. If you share my weakness, then 42nd Street at the IU Auditorium is for you. The show begins, ends and is liberally filled with plenty of syncopated footwork. It doesn’t hurt that the show has a more than serviceable story line, colorful characters and a lot of very funny humor. Some of the songs are "Young and Healthy," "I Only Have Eyes for You," We’re in the Money," "Lullaby of Broadway" and of course "42nd Street."

42nd Street is a show about the stresses, strains, failures and victories in putting on a show. It takes the audience from the casting call through rehearsals, the out of town try-out, and on to the Broadway opening night. The show began energetically with the whole company tapping led by the percussive footwork of Jeffery Williams. Maureen Illmensee and Evan Alboum played the comically mismatched pair of writers. Natalie Buster was alternately attractive, nasty and sympathetic in the difficult role of, Dorothy Brock, the difficult star whose sugar daddy is bankrolling the show. Kyle Massey was the company’s attractive young tenor lead. Mara Davi did indeed grow from mousey auditionee to sparkling star as Peggy Sawyer. Presiding over it all was the commanding director of directors, the outward cynic and the inward optimist Julian Marsh, played by Ron Smith.

The musical staging of 42nd Street is based on the original work of Gower Champion. Although tap is the ruling dance form there are plenty of acrobatics and even a delightful flower ballet on point. Scene follows inventive scene with smooth set changes and ever changing costumes. One that I especially enjoyed was of four of the women dressed as street urchins fishing for a dime with a piece of chewing gum on a string as the prelude to "We’re in the Money." Singing, diction and sound reinforcement were very effective throughout. 42nd Street boasts a full twelve-member orchestra. It was a pleasure to see former IU student Jeff Suzda in the pit playing reeds.

Opening night was a very satisfying evening and the audience responded at the curtain call with a standing ovation. I was a little disappointed at the scarcity of children in the audience. The show does run until ten-forty on a school night, but perhaps an afternoon nap would make up for the sleep deficit. I do warn you though that attendance may lead to a strong demand for tap shoes.

42nd Street plays tonight (and Thursday) at the IU Auditorium. The tapping starts at eight.

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Theatre & Dance Stories

Theatre & Dance Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Poets Weave

Not A Good Year For Morels


Indiana poet Suzanne Sturgeon reads poems about deer crossings, mushrooms, and things of long (and not so long) ago.

Read more »

The Poets Weave is a weekly five-minute program of poetry reading hosted by local poet Christopher Citro.

More from The Poets Weave »

This Week on Earth Eats

Drought Puts Pinch On Produce Prices


California is suffering the worst drought in decades, and the repercussions are being felt nationwide.

Read more »

Earth Eats is a podcast, radio program and blog of the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

More from Earth Eats »

This Week on Focus on Flowers

Wild Ginger

Wild ginger

Wild ginger is one of the best ground covers for deep shade.

Read more »

Focus on Flowers is a weekly program about flower gardening hosted by master gardener Moya Andews.

More from Focus on Flowers »