Arts & Leisure

Some shining stars on “42nd Street”

“42nd STREET” concludes its run at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster this weekend (RCT photo).

By Thom deMartino

The streets of New York may be strewn with shards of the shattered dreams of aspiring stars and starlets — but for the scores that don’t make the cut, there’s always that one that rises above, shining like a beacon of hope to others…

It’s your last-chance weekend to take a stroll down  “42nd Street,” as it finishes up its Tim Nelson-directed successful run at Westminster’s Rose Center Theater. In 1930’s New York, auditions are taking place at the renowned 42nd Street Theater for coveted roles in “Pretty Lady”, the newest song-and-dance show by the “best director on Broadway”, Julian Marsh (Chris Caputo) — and aspiring hoofer Peggy Sawyer (Amanda Hinchee) is ready to tap her heart out… if only her bus to the theater had been on time. Despite the overtures of the flirtatious Billy Lawlor (Trevin Stephenson) to get her into the show, choreographer Andy Lee (in this performance, played by Damon Williams) insists she’s too late: and as she rushes out in embarrassment, Peggy runs — literally — into the temperamental director.

Marsh and show writers Bert Barry (Cliff Senior) and Maggie Jones (Karen Rymar) desperately need the new show to be a hit, as they all try to come back from losing everything but their shirts in the stock market crash. But they find themselves fretting about their high-maintenance lead actress, Dorothy Brock (Meredith Woodson), whose “sugar daddy” Abner Dillon (Jack Gilroy) is needed for bankrolling the show: but the smitten older man is more than a little touchy about who gets too close — actor or otherwise — to his own “leading lady.”

Peggy is befriended by Maggie and the three kindly chorus girls Annie (Sara Teeter), Phyllis (Elise Anderson) and Lorraine (Shelby Rawlinson), who take her out to lunch: and when the writer witnesses the young woman’s remarkable dancing ability, she knows that Marsh has got to wedge her into the new show. And while the director agrees upon seeing Peggy’s skills, he’s also contending with the headache of Brock’s ongoing relationship with old flame Pat Denning (Vincent Anicito), whose presence alone endangers the show’s backing – and that just won’t do.

Both careers and fortunes are on the line, as the cast and crew struggle to bring the show to life… along with one young woman’s dreams of stardom.

While there are a number of excellent performances in “42nd Street”, unquestionable praise must be given to show choreographers Jennifer Simpson-Matthews and Diane Makas: as the thundering tap numbers and numerous other dance performances by the cast really shine in this production. Caputo is — as always — on point with his portrayal as the cranky director, whose inner kind soul is hidden by gruff business-minded exterior, while Senior and Jones as the writers provide heart and kindness of their own. Woodson’s Dorothy and Aniceto’s Pat are more than just show-business philanderers behind Dillon’s back, instead showing genuine depth of feeling for each other; and Brock’s own doubt and self-reflection on her dwindling time in the spotlight is touching.

The dance performances may be remarkable by the entire cast, but aspiring starlet Peggy has some astonishing footwork herself, and Hinchee is radiant as the young woman passionately pursuing her hopes and dreams, while still retaining her small-town innocence.

It’s the last-chance weekend, and fans of classic musicals will want to “hear the beat of those dancing feet,” as they witness the wonder of “42nd Street.”

“42nd Street.” Amanda Hinchee, Chris Caputo and Meredith Woodson star in this dance extravaganza, about a young woman following her treasured dreams of Broadway fame. Playing through Sunday, March 4 at the Rose Center Theater, 14140 All American Way, Westminster, CA 92683. Ticketing information at rosecentertheater.com or (714) 793-1150, ext 1. Appropriate for all ages.

 

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