Not One for Plot, but “42nd” Big on High Energy Numbers

Photo by Keith Stewart Heather Dore Johnson (left) as Gladys and Alex Jorth (middle) as Billy Lawlor dance away in the Little Theatre’s season opener “42nd Street.”

Photo by Keith Stewart
Heather Dore Johnson (left) as Gladys and Alex Jorth (middle) as Billy Lawlor dance away in the Little Theatre’s season opener “42nd Street.”

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

When you think of the generic term “Broadway musical,” the Little Theatre’s 2014 summer season opener — “42nd Street” — is probably the kind of show that springs to mind.

It’s that “You’re going out there a youngster, but you’re coming back a star!” musical. Yes, that very bit has been a cliché for 70 or 80 years now, at least since the deep Depression debut, in 1933, of the Dick Powell/Ruby Keeler film that inspired this 1980 stage musical. 

And that’s the problem I always have with this show, the paper-thin plot we’re stuck with. It’s not so much a plot, in fact, as a skeletal dramatic scaffolding on which to hang a number of crowd-pleasing tap-dance numbers. 

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