The jazz-funk '42nd Street' at Drury Lane is one for the ages

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 05:32:34 AM. REVIEW: '42nd Street' at Drury Lane Theatre is a must-see, funked-up version of the old favorite about Broadway artists. (4 stars)
Think you’ve seen “42nd Street” before? Not with jazz-funk orchestrations and a rock drum set and a truly diverse cast, you haven’t. Not with an ABBA-like synthesizer underpinning “We’re in the Money.” Not with echoes of “A Chorus Line.” Not with a “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” that feels filtered through . Not with a line of chorus girls dancing off to the Gypsy Tea Kettle as if they were the opening credits to “Shaft.” Not with choreography far closer to Savion Glover than Gower Champion. Yes, I’m talking “42nd Street,” the retro stage musical that premiered in 1980 but was firmly rooted in the aesthetic and gestalt of the 1933 movie about Peggy Sawyer, a toe-tappin’ newbie from Allentown, Pa., who wants nothing more than to star in a musical comedy directed by the patriarchal Julian Marsh, a surrogate daddy for every girl on the line, all dreaming their Broadway dreams and hoping the glittering gulch doesn’t rip out their hearts. The show famed for its massive chorus of dancing feet: traditionally staged so, at one point or another, you see only toes tapping, as a drop cuts off the rest of the women’s bodies. Forget all that. If you’re thinking in terms of conceptual innovation, director Michael Heitzman’s production, which features truly counterintuitive choreography by Jared Grimes and radical musical direction from Roberta Duchak, is the best show I’ve seen at Drury Lane in 20 years. It’s absolutely not to be missed. The idea is fresh and strong enough that it should coax...Read more
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