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'42nd Street' Takes Familiar, Fun Route

October 23, 1998|JANA J. MONJI

The Music Theatre of Southern California's peppy "42nd Street"--at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium and coming soon to the Alex Theatre in Glendale--is at its best during the big musical numbers with 42 performers tapping energetically to John C. Vaughan's lively choreography and singing some of Harry Warren and Al Dubin's most memorable tunes.

The Depression-era plot is saccharine-sweet. A naive but talented girl, Peggy (Elizabeth Dressler), manages to get into the chorus of a new musical, "Pretty Lady," directed by the famed Julian Marsh (Michael G. Hawkins), who's on the comeback trail. The financial backing depends on the sugar daddy (Hank Wilson) of fading star Dorothy (Marilyn Christensen). Peggy finds a little romance and intrigue, and gets her big break on opening night. All very predictable, but still enjoyable.

Director Bill Shaw uses his large ensemble effectively. The actors glide effortlessly through the 17 musical numbers while showing off Pamela Gill's colorfully fun costume designs. Lise Simms as the overly experienced chorine, Anytime Annie, and Laura Ware and Danny Michaels as the company's writers and character actors shine in this ode to Broadway.

This production might not electrify, but it will leave a smile on your face.

*

* "42nd Street," San Gabriel Civic Auditorium, 320 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel. Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 2 p.m. $18-$50. (626) 308-2868. Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Oct. 30-31, 8 p.m.; Nov. 1, 7 p.m.; Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2 p.m. $20.50-$40.50. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

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