The age-old story about a starry-eyed newcomer’s rise to fame has been told many times before, yet seldom has it been expressed in such a thrilling way as in “42nd Street”. After months of tireless dedication, LaGuardia High School’s production of the show opened on December 7, 2017 for a two-week run. “42nd Street” was an exhilarating journey from the moment the curtains opened until the cast took their final bow.
Based on the book by Bradford Ropes and the 1933 movie, “42nd Street” tells the story of young Peggy Sawyer, a girl from Allentown, who dreams of making it on the big stage. On the bumpy road to stardom, she encounters setbacks and challenges, all the while, fighting for a spot in “Pretty Lady”, the most promising musical of the 30s. On the brink of giving up her dreams and heading back to Allentown, opportunity comes knocking. After an unexpected accident forces the show’s leading lady out of her role, Peggy helps to bring the production of “Pretty Lady” back on its feet. Passionate, driven, and genuine, Peggy’s performance is a tremendous success and catapults her to stardom. Full of drama, romance, and ultimate triumph, “42nd Street” is an uplifting show about the power of perseverance and achieving one’s dreams.
“42nd Street” showcased the talent of LaGuardia’s impressive dancers through the countless tap numbers that dominated the show. The ensemble pieces, choreographed by Ben Hartley were stunning and dynamic, giving the show a palpable energy. The orchestra, directed by Kevin Blancq, provided the exceptional music that supported the vibrant routines and vocal performances. Particularly impressive was Evan Dominguez's performance of Julian Marsh, a famed director searching for success in “Pretty Lady”. Dominguez was convincing in his dramatic portrayal of Marsh and his physical presence, emotional resonance, and booming voice brought the character fully to life.
Especially notable were the costumes designed by David Quinn with help from LaGuardia students Catherine Bibby and Destynie Julian. From the glamorous fur robe worn during Dorothy Brock’s (played by Isabela Ferrer/Ashley Muench) entrance to the gold glittery get-ups used for the finale, the costumes dazzled the audience every second of the way. The inclusion of simple, yet impressive setpieces helped to transport the audience to the streets of New York and Pennsylvania. Additionally, the intricate carvings framing the stage and the neon signs that resembled the shining lights on Broadway, elevated the production, making the extraordinary story just a little more believable.
“42nd Street” was a major hit amongst the audience of students, parents, and New Yorkers coming to witness the immense talent of LaGuardia’s students and faculty. A well-deserved success, the mesmerizing music, eye-popping choreography, and the beloved story makes LaGuardia’s “42nd Street” a true marvel.