Who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a star, singing and dancing one’s way to the top? For the main character in the classic Broadway musical “42nd Street, ” on stage in Mobile on April 9, this dream becomes reality
For Peggy Sawyer, played by Tara Lynn Steele, becoming a Broadway star and achieving her dreams comes before all else. She jumps aboard a train from her small town Pennsylvania home and heads to New York, where she runs across a host of vibrant characters, all trying to make the same big break. From spoiled prima donnas to flighty theatre directors, Peggy’s experiences throughout her time in New York shape her into a savvy performer in the City That Never Sleeps.
Produced by the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance, “42nd Street” follows a long line of university productions geared toward “offering excellent teaching and resultant dynamic learning” for the participating students. Director and choreographer Stacy Allen, who admits to being “both thrilled and terrified about tackling a musical of this magnitude, ” has worked recently with a number of magnificent groups including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival and the Festival Internacional de Teatro y Danza (Chile). The musical, written in 1980, has garnered critical acclaim over the decades, including a number of Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards.
The show holds special meaning for me, as I myself took to the stage as a youngster for the famous number, “We’re in the Money, ” jiving and lip-synching all the way. I remember the dazzling costume I wore, the excitement of the singers’ voices and even the feeling of the prop coin we used in the opening segment (“What is it? A penny? A nickel? It’s…a dime!”). The energy of the music is contagious, and to this day nearly 12 years after the fact, I often find myself humming the tunes in my head or performing the tap steps I learned as a fourth grader.
To me, the thrill of exploring the unknown and chasing the impossible often gets lost in our hectic day-to-day lives. In our hurry to get good jobs, raise families, pay the bills and save a little extra time for ourselves at the end of the day, spontaneity and just plain whimsical delight lie deserted. But Peggy’s story proves that releasing inhibitions and chasing wholeheartedly after the sun glowing on the horizon leads to prosperity and success (not without one’s struggles, mind you).
I cannot wait to relive my youthful theater days this Thursday evening at the Mobile Civic Center. Click the link below to reserve your tickets, and you’ll certainly be jigging and jiving all night long.
APRIL 9: “42ND STREET”
Mobile Civic Center • 401 Civic Center Dr.
7:30 p.m. Dance and sing along to “We’re in the Money” and “Lullaby of Broadway” at the University of Alabama’s performance of the classic musical. Tickets to the show are $25. Click here to purchase.
Text by Chelsea Wallace