The famed 42nd Street comes loaded with an impressive list of awards, a reputation as one of the best dance musicals of the 20th century, and nostalgia for classic Broadway music theatre. This month, Nova Music Theatre will bring to life this favourite at the Whitehorse Centre in Nunawading. Armed with a creative team full of strong, clear vision and a cast brimming with enthusiasm and talent to match, the show promises to be a highly entertaining night out at the theatre.
Director Tim Schwerdt has worked hard to bring his vision to the stage alongside choreographer Scott Hili and musical director Phil Osborne, and is confident of the shows potential to be a great success. “"42nd Street gives us both the glitz and glamour of the 1930's Broadway yet it has this wonderful story, set on the backbone of the great depression. 42nd Street is also possibly the greatest tap show going around – and tap is more popular now than it has ever been. Mark Bramble, the original author of 42nd Street, made sure at every rehearsal that every cast member understood how tough the times were in America in 1933. He repeatedly used the word 'desperation' to describe the way in which many Americans were living their lives. That desperation is the spine that makes this great musical work. It gives us the energy, the pace and the high stakes. I wanted to bring Mark Brambles' original vision to Nova's production – to do it the way the author had originally intended." His faith in the cast also shines through, mentioning a collaborative process in the rehearsal room to bring each of the memorable and iconic characters to life. "You have to let an actor find a role – you can't make them into something they are not. In doing so, they find the show for you, reveal the layers and make the moments work in ways you hadn't thought of. That's why we do live theatre. Because every time we see a new show – even if it is a show we have seen before, a different actor will take the show somewhere new. The cast have been on the same page from day one and have made this Nova's 42nd Street something new."
With only a 10 week rehearsal period to pull such an iconic show together, the cast has banded together to support each in other in the process of putting 42nd Street together. Mike Gardiner, who plays Julian Marsh, acknowledged that the cast has worked together “though some bonding over dumplings and the odd drink which doesn’t hurt! We’ve had to make time for each other to go over lines and steps when there is downtime for us at rehearsals that kind of self-motivated thing.” Ashleigh Psaila, in the role of Phyllis, also recognized the closeness and dedication of the cast. “As we've had such a short rehearsal process, we really needed to band together as a cast and help each other with revising the vocals, choreography and direction. Every person in this cast is an individually gifted performer, so it's been exciting to watch what magic happens when we all come together.”
Musical director Phil Osborne is evidently passionate about the show’s score and how it assists with telling the story. “42nd Street to me exudes that Broadway "opening night" feel – from the overture to the comedy numbers to the big production numbers it doesn't really stop! First you've got great songs and not just a couple – all are songs that the audience will know and leave humming or whistling. Then to complement that you have that typical Broadway brassy orchestra supporting them to fill it out that bit more. We've been lucky to have some great musicians agree to play in the pit and their sound coupled with what the cast are doing is making some beautiful music indeed. Having the chance to put all that together is what I love and am lucky to be able to do so. We have been very lucky to secure a very talented cast of people, and the balance we have between the performers is excellent throughout both principals and ensemble. This makes it very easy and enjoyable for the production team to bring this show to the stage.”
42nd Street will be playing from October 26th-November 11th at the Whitehorse Centre with tickets ranging from $28-$38 (additional charge for opening night). For bookings contact 1300 305 771 or visit the Nova website.