Dancing Feet! (LAArtsOnline.com)

42nd Street42nd Street hits the Pantages Theatre

Dancing Feet!

By Ken Werther

“Come and meet those dancing feet … on the avenue I’m taking you to … Forty-Second Street!” Theatre history was made on the evening of August 25, 1980 when this musical opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway. After only six preview performances, 42nd Street opened and ran for a whopping 3,486 performances. It won Tony Awards in 1981 for Best Choreography and Best Musical.

Based on the 1933 film, 42nd Street focuses on the efforts of a dictatorial Broadway director trying to mount a successful musical at the height of the Great Depression. How did the stage adaptation of 42nd Street make history? The Broadway opening night triumph was overshadowed by tragedy when, following a lengthy standing ovation, producer David Merrick announced that the director/choreographer Gower Champion had died that afternoon from a rare form of blood cancer. Merrick had managed to keep the news a secret from everyone until that moment at the curtain call.

A revival of 42nd Street opened on Broadway in 2001, won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and ran for 1,524 performances. I had the good fortune of handling publicity on the LA production in 1984 and on the touring version of the revival in 2003, so the show is very close to my heart. This sparkling song and dance extravaganza is not to be missed!

42nd Street” opens May 31st at the Pantages, for tickets and more information, click here.