Celebrate 40 Years of 42nd Street on Broadway

Photos   Celebrate 40 Years of 42nd Street on Broadway
 
The musical, based on the 1933 film, opened on at the Winter Garden Theatre August 25, 1980.
Wanda Richert, Jerry Orbach, and the cast of 42nd Street
Wanda Richert, Jerry Orbach, and the cast of 42nd Street Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

The original Broadway production of 42nd Street, a stage adaptation of the classic 1933 movie, opened August 25, 1980. The musical played six previews and 3,486 performances before closing January 8, 1989, moving theatres twice during its run—first departing its original home at the Winter Garden Theatre to make room for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, and later exiting the Majestic Theatre for the St. James Theatre so that Webber's The Phantom of the Opera could take over the space. Directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, the production earned eight Tony Award nominations, winning two including Best Musical.

42nd Street tells the story of a chorus girl from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who steps into the starring role to save the show when its star breaks her leg. The musical features music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble.

The musical starred Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock, Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh, Wanda Richert as Peggy Sawyer, Lee Roy Reams as Billy Lawlor, Joseph Bova as Bert Barry, Carole Cook as Maggie Jones, Danny Carroll as Andy Lee, Robert Colston as Oscar, James Congdon as Pat Denning, Don Crabtree as Abner Dillon. Rounding out the cast were Carole Banninger, Steve Belin, Robin Black, Joel Blum, Mary Cadorette, Ronny DeVito, Denise DiRenzo, Mark Dovey, Rob Draper, Brandt Edwards, Jon Engstrom, Sharon Ferrol, Cathy Greco, Dawn Herbert, Christin Jacobsen, Jeri Kansas, Ginny King, Terri Ann Kundrat, Shan Martin, Beth McVey, Maureen Mellon, Sandra Menhart, Bill Nabel, Stan Page, Tony Parise, Don Percassi, Jean Preece, Karen Prunczik, Vicki Regan, Lars Rosager, Linda Sabatelli, Nikki Sahagen, Ron Schwinn, Yveline Semeria, Alison Sherve, Robin Stephens, David Storey, and Karen Tamburrelli.

Cast of <i>42nd Street</i>
Cast of 42nd Street Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

42nd Street featured scenic design by Robin Wanger, costume design by Theoni V. Aldredge, lighting design by Tharon Musser, and sound design by Richard Fitzgerald with stage management by Arturo E. Porazzi, Jane E. Neufeld. For the complete cast and creative team, visit PlaybillVault.com/42ndStreet.

The musical originally premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York. Champion remained ill during much of his work on the production, culminating in his untimely death just hours before the show opened on Broadway; his death was announced onstage during the opening night curtain call by producer David Merrick.

42nd Street returned to Broadway in 2001 in a Randy Skinner-helmed production, playing the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

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