The 1980 show, choreographed for Broadway by Marge and Gower Champion, is simply a vehicle for tap dancing, and that's what Richter director Richard Sanders was looking for.
The 1980 show, choreographed for Broadway by Marge and Gower Champion, is simply a vehicle for tap dancing, and thatâs what Richter director Richard Sanders was looking for.
After this seasonâs Godspell and Evita, two plays with serious undertones, it was time for some pure fluff. Based on the Busby Berkley depression extravaganza, Forty Second Street is a light-hearted romp that allows some two dozen area hoofers to strut their stuff, including a large number of local school kids. Girls with long legs and bright smiles, boys with bow ties and argyle sweaters and limitless energy go through one merry routine after another.
The plot is stanchard clichÃ©: Little girl comes to big city hoping to make it on Broadway; imperious star has a last-minute accident; âKid you walked in here as a beginner but youâre gonna walk out a starâ¦â
The Richter production benefits from some serious talent in the major roles: UConn senior Nikki Sanders not only has the face, the voice and the moves to play the ingenue, Peggy Sawyer, but she doubles as associate director, choreographer and costumer as well â and wears all those hats honorably.
As Billy Lawlor, the earnest young hero who befriends her when she is just a kid in the chorus, Matthew Johnston is sweet and eager and a tap-dancing fool.
Longtime Richter favorites Priscilla Squiers as Dorothy Brock, the brittle star, and Juliette Garrison and Donald Leona as the showâs writers, keep the standards very high. The ballads that were written for the Broadway show by Al Dubin and Henry Warren are less than memorable, but the principals have such good voices that they are worth listening to anyhow.
But it is the hold numbers from the Berkley musical â âShuffle Off To Buffalo,â âLullaby of Broadway,â âWeâre In The Money,â which involve the whole ensemble â that give the show its raison dâÃªtre. If the rain ever stops, Forty Second Street is another enjoyable evening at Richter.