Wright State University Theatre
There are few MORE iconic moments from the Broadway canon than watching the entire company of 42ND STREET make its way down a giant staircase in perfect choreographic synergy. It’s perfect golden age Broadway wow-factor – not bad for a show that opened in 1980 (nearly 30 years after the Golden Age). But it wasn’t just it’s nostalgic structure that launched 42nd STREET into early legend-status.
The score – a healthy mix of tunes from the film soundtrack on which the musical is based – was blended seamlessly with a collection of appropriate songs from the Al Dubin-Harry Warren catalogue. And it’s one hit after another – “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”, “We’re In The Money”, “Lullabye of Broadway”, “About A Quarter To Nine”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo”. In that respect, 42ND STREET was a jukebox musical before there were jukebox musicals. But unlike many contemporary examples, 42ND STREET did it right – at its core is one hell of a classic story. Consider this: Girl from small town America moves to big dangerous city to fulfill her Broadway dreams. Tough auditions, a love interest, twist of fate that launches girl from the chorus to the leading role, and POW – all the makings of a show to inspire the coldest of critics.
As if that isn’t enough, the current local offering of the show is in the capable hands of director Joe Deer and the Wright State University Department of Theatre. With the current crop of remarkable students at WSU and Mr. Deer at the helm, there is every indication that once again, this will be an event not to be missed. Don’t let happen with 42ND STREET what happened with JEKYLL & HYDE earlier in the year. The buzz was so high, there was not a ticket to be had. Order now.
OSD recently spoke with 42ND STREET cast member TOMMI HARSCH about the upcoming opening. Here’s what she had to say:
onStageDayton: 42ND STREET is notoriously taxing on a dancer. How are dance rehearsals going and are you exhausted every hour of the day these days?
Tommi Harsch: To say the least, my stamina has been in such a building up process thanks to this show… the dance rehearsals have been crazy. Our choreographer- Rick Conant- who was featured in the original 42nd Street cast and who has done several tours as well as choreographed several productions of 42nd Street, has definitely kicked the entire cast’s butts as a whole. We’ve been working so hard! Personally, I’ve been in a constant state of soreness the past 6 weeks because of all the dancing. There were nights I worried my feet were actually going to fall off after we stopped dancing. However, as insane as it’s been, it’s absolutely worth it…it all looks fantastic!
OSD: Joe Deer continues to be one of the finest musical theatre directors in the region (Thoroughly Modern Millie and WSU’s stunning The Light in the Piazza). What’s been you experience working with Joe?
TH: Having Joe as our director for this show has been such a great experience. This is the first WSU Festival production I’ve been cast in, so I would definitely say that for a first show, it’s been an awesome one! He has made sure to instill in us a very solid work ethic and willingness to come focused to rehearsal. The professional attitude he has expected of all of us has absolutely made for such a smooth rehearsal process. Also, having Rick as the co-director has been magnificent! They make a great team.
OSD: There are scenes in 42ND STREET that are pretty iconic. Can audiences expect a wow-factor moment in WSU’s production as well?
TH: I’m sorry to say that we don’t have any sweet stairs, however, the ballet is certainly going to “wow” audiences! It’s an epic moment in the show, and is sure to impress every seat in the house. I’m guaranteeing it!
OSD: The show originally opened in 1980. I was 5. You weren’t born (sigh). What about this show resonates with a contemporary audience?
TH: The entire show is based on the idea of working hard to succeed in this field of performance, which is something that we’re all striving for in real life as well. Although the plot is set in 1933, the content is something that every one of us can relate to. We’re all working our butts off to make our way into this business, just like each of the characters in 42nd Street. The losses and the victories that the cast of “Pretty Lady” experiences are heartwrenching and wonderful, because each person watching can easily put themselves in the shoes of everyone on stage. It really hits home for all of us in the cast, and we hope the audience feels the same way while immersed in the story we are going to be telling for the next 3 weeks!
-DBWe encourage local theatre companies to submit calendar items HERE, and official press releases to onStageDayton@DaytonMostMetro.com.
Tickets & Performance Information:
Location: Wright State University’s Festival Playhouse in the Robert & Elaine Stein Auditorium – 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, OH 45435
Tickets are on sale now through WSU’s Box Office via phone at (937) 775-2500 (Monday through Friday Noon – 5:00 pm).