Musical with book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren. The timeless, inspiring tale of small town Peggy Sawyer's rise from chorus line to Broadway star. The classic backstage musical featuring the songs We're in the Money, Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, Keep Young and Beautiful, I Only Have Eyes For You and, of course, the spectacular title number.
The original 1984 staging played for 3,550 performances, running first at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, before returning again at the Dominion Theatre.
42nd Street Original London West End Production - 1984 to 1991
David Merrick's production of the award-winning tap-dance musical 42nd Street in London
Directed by Lucia Victor with choreography by Karin Baker and Randy Skinner, sets by Robin Wagner, costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge and lighting by Tharon Musser. Produced by David Merrick. Original Broadway production directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. Including the return engagement, this production played for a total of 3,550 performances.
"For a taste of old-style Broadway finesse, look no further than 42nd Street. You won't find a show in London with more razzle dazzle than this one. The opening of the musical sums it all up. The curtain slowly rises to reveal 40 pairs of feet tapping away like they were trying to break the souud barrier. And from that moment on the glamour never lets up. As one hit melody follows another, the dance routines just get more and more amazing. The story-line hasn't changed since the original thirties movie in which the chorus girl goes on in Philadelphia as an understudy and takes a curtain call in Broadway as a star... It may be unfashionable to say it, but once again it takes an American musical to bring a touch of class to the West End. The Daily Express
"This is a musical comedy that sizzles from the moment the curtain goes up to reveal the vast stage filled with gyrating tap-dancing boys and girls. I can't recall any other musical that gets off to such a resounding start. But if you think that can't be topped, hang on to your seats, there is better to come. One number featuring the dollar-bedecked chorus line dancing up a storm in We're In The Money is alone worth the price of your ticket... It's the precision dancing, the costumes and lovely old melodies that make the show such a fizzer. The British dancers perform with the exuberance we expect only from the Americans. 42nd Street is paved with gold." The Daily Mirror
42nd Street in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane previewed from 26 July 1984, opened on 8 August 1984 and closed on 7 January 1989, returned to London at the Dominion Theatre opened on 27 February 1991 and closed on 20 April 1991
42nd Street 1st London West End Revival - 2017 to 2019
Previewed 20 March 2017, Opened 4 April 2017, Closed 5 January 2019 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The award-winning tap-dance musical 42nd Street in London
The cast features Bonnie Langford as 'Dorothy Brock' with Tom Lister as 'Julian Marsh', Clare Halse as 'Peggy Sawyer', Norman Bowman as 'Pat Denning' and Ashley Day as 'Billy Lawlor'. Please note that casting subject to change without notice.
The original 2017 cast featured Sheena Easton as 'Dorothy Brock' with Tom Lister as 'Julian Marsh', Clare Halse as 'Peggy Sawyer', Norman Bowman as 'Pat Denning' and Stuart Neal as 'Billy Lawlor'. The cast from Monday 19 March 2018 features Lulu as 'Dorothy Brock' with Tom Lister as 'Julian Marsh', Clare Halse as 'Peggy Sawyer', Matthew Goodgame as 'Pat Denning' and Ashley Day as 'Billy Lawlor'.
Lulu's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Miss Adelaide' in Richard Eyre's revival of Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls, for the National Theatre, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1985.
When this production opened here at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in April 2017, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised it as being "extraordinary, spine-tingling... it has tremendous spirit, gorgeous technicolour and there's no let-up from the moment the red velvet curtain rises to the titular finale, in which the dancers, all in silver and gold, cascade down a staircase, which lights up on cue." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail wrote that "from the opening moments of 42nd Street you know you are in for a good night. The first note from the orchestra is a deep, cheeky parp of brass. Then comes the curtain rise and it stops at knee length long enough for us to see 80 feet tap-dancing, kicking up a noise like so many mad rattlesnakes. Clack clack clack clack clack. Mesmerising... classic, sequin-spangled glamour." Neil Norman in the Daily Express noted that "the dialogue zings and the songs may be politically incorrect but they are just so damned singable... This is old-fashioned entertainment on an epic scale and I wallowed in every spangled moment of it." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times highlighted that "director Mark Bramble goes full tilt at it in this spectacular revival, revelling in its excesses and delivering the astounding dance routines with military precision... The lack of subtlety and depth has a drag effect, and the sheer gaudiness of it all can be exhausting. But every time the show sags, the sensational 40-strong ensemble reboots it with another dazzling, impeccable number." Ann Treneman in the Times said that "It's the classic rags to riches story but the plot, frankly, is wafer thin... It's a pleasure to sit back and soak up the sets, which are sumptuous... The dancing is the star of this show but Sheena Easton, Clare Hulse and Tom Lister impress. Even at the end, just when you think it's over, you discover there's another high-kicking high-energy number on the way. It's more, more, more-ish, this one." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard explained that "this production by co-author Mark Bramble is all about the spectacle rather than the story. Luckily, there's a superabundance of spectacle to revel in... little of import appears to hang on the fate of the show within the show, Pretty Lady. We get lengthy, drifting excerpts from this seemingly entirely logic-free piece and, despite the tapping, our spirits begin to flag." Michael Billington in the Guardian commented: "However welcome it is to see Sheena Easton on stage there is something curiously heartless about this revival of a musical first seen on Broadway in 1980. In all honesty, I've been more moved by a military tattoo... What keeps the show alive are the dances, and Mark Bramble as director and Randy Skinner as choreographer stage them with well-drilled exactitude... But, while I've admired this show in the past, the current version feels more like a savourless replica than a re-imagined revival."
"This tap-stravaganza arrives like a gift from previous periods of world turmoil to our own... Everyone's frantic for work and cruelly replaceable. Na´ve Peggy Sawyer (Clare Halse, a peppy dynamo) scores a berth in the chorus for a show led by a perfectionist director and a querulous diva. In the teeth of disaster and in the film's famous line, it's Peggy who must go out as a youngster, but come back a star. Halse is great, although other performances in Mark Bramble's production are several notches broader than necessary, and some of the Warren and Dubin numbers merely so-so. But the tap is the star. From the opening audition - curtain hovering at knee height to tantalise us with all those dancing feet - the relentless waves of dancers hammering heel and toe are thrilling. It's the sound of desperation rapping at the door, but as cascades of hoofers lood down an electric bulb staircase, it's also the thunder of elation." The Sunday Times
"From the moment the curtain lifts to reveal the legs of a chorus line tapping out a persistent, percussive beat, it's clear this new West End production of the 1980 Broadway extravaganza has only one intention: to blow your mind with spectacle. Based on the 1933 film, Broadway's ultimate love letter to itself has a plot to make the featherweight An American In Paris, playing just up the road, look positively Shakespearean. Set behind the scenes of a Broadway musical, it's a high kicking hymn to the American dream, in which the goofy but talented chorus girl Peggy Sawyer gets a shot at the big time when the show's star, Dorothy Brock breaks her leg. There's a hint of the Depression-era US in the threat of the dole queue outside the stage door, but 42nd Street, with its Busby Berkeley-style set pieces and succession of kitsch costumes is the Broadway escapist fantasy incarnate... Mark Bramble's production plays a straight bat and somehow gets away with it... Sheena Easton is great as Brock, with a belter of a voice, while Clare Halse's Peggy dances with infectious pleasure. Your teeth might ache from the sugary choreography but resistance is futile." The London Metro
"42nd Street was the first of a string of Warner Brothers backstage musicals that captivated American audiences during the Great Depression. In 1980 Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble adapted it for the stage, interpolating other songs by the original writers, Harry Warren and Al Dubin. By tapping in to the huge nostalgia vogue, in which even 'girlie shows' had an innocent meaning, they created a hit that ran for years on both sides of the Atlantic. Bramble himself directs this latest revival and, from the moment that the curtain rises to reveal 40 pairs of frenziedly tap-dancing feet (followed by shapely legs and toned torsos), his affinity with the material is clear. Even Busby Berkeley's choreography, the crowning glory of the original film, is wittily recreated when the chorus girls lie on a revolving stage, their high-kicking legs reflected in a giant mirror. The songs are irresistible; only Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, added to provide an extra number for Sheena Easton (who sings it splendidly), seems out of place." The Sunday Express
42nd Street in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane previewed from 20 March 2017, opened on 4 April 2017 and closed on 5 January 2019