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42nd Street Musical by Stewart and Bramble

If you want to learn about some secrets of show business, you need to watch the brilliant musical 42nd Street. This musical was written by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble in 1980. The production under consideration was performed by the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2013 (SOTA Music, 2013). This famous play is set in the times of the Great Depression and focuses on the attempt of Julian, a notorious director, to stage a musical that could bring him fame and wealth.

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The play starts with an audition for the new show where Peggy, a young and talented girl, wants to participate. Dorothy, a former prima donna with doubtful dancing abilities, is also on the show because Julian wants to get her lover’s money to fund the play. He also thinks Dorothy would attract more viewers due to her past. Dorothy has a conflict with Peggy as the prima believes the young actress has an affair with the man she truly loves, which is not true. Later, Dorothy, due to Peggy’s being rather clumsy, is injured and cannot star in the play. Julian fires Peggy and is desperate, and decides to cancel the show, while people in the show tell him about Peggy’s talent and her ability to perform instead of Dorothy. Eventually, Dorothy performs becoming a new star while Julian is happy and sad about his show and his love for Peggy.

Atmosphere

The overall atmosphere of the performance was realistic, entertaining, and engaging. The scenery was appropriate and created the impression of Broadway of the 1930s. The costumes looked similar to the clothes of that time, which contributed to the development of the necessary tone. The lighting was used to the fullest as the necessary emphasis was placed on the necessary parts. The cast made viewers engaged by their movements and facial expressions. The music was stunning, but the sound was not always perfect, but it did not spoil the impression. At times, Peggy’s and Billy’s singing was not heard, but a possible negative emotion regarding this never emerged as the performers used their bodies to enhance the effect of their singing. Their emotions and movements were priceless.

Technical Evaluation

The technical aspects of the musical were appropriate and of quite high quality. As mentioned above, the scenery was instrumental in recreating the atmosphere of a musical show of the 1930s. The setting was not rich in detail, but they managed to use the key items and objects, such as café furniture or the dressing room. The use of the two-floor scenery was very effective and added even more action and life to the performance. The costumes were not completely perfect as many of the items seemed rather modern, but the overall tone of the target period was present. Makeup was better as the fashion and style of the 1930s were recreated. The most remarkable technical aspect was the lighting that was utilized to the fullest because it highlighted the characters’ emotions perfectly well.

Acting Evaluation

As far as acting is concerned, it was good although some singing could be improved. All the actors worked together in a well-established ensemble to tell the story rather than play their part. Some actors’ performance was not highly professional or believable. This was mainly true to secondary characters. However, it is necessary to remember that actors are students so their performance was adequate.

Since the musical was concerned with Broadway, performers were emotional and very explicit. Some may regard the performance as overplay, but I enjoyed the exaggerated tones and emotions. Dorothy was a true star of the production in question as the actress managed to create a lively and unforgettable archetypical prima donna. She was hilarious and multifaceted at the same time when it came to the scenes with her beloved.

Directorial Evaluation

The production under analysis can be seen as a directorial success because everything was balanced appropriately. All the production aspects contributed to the creation of the world where the show must go on and it never stops. The director’s concepts and interpretation were true to what the playwright intended. The directors’ interpretations were similar to mine, so I was completely satisfied with the directorial work.

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Personal Opinion

I loved the production of this famous musical although I understood that many performers were not highly professional. However, leading actors and actresses were majestic and professional. The acting was one of the aspects that stroke me more than the others, so I would like to concentrate on this component. Dorothy was the brightest star of the show and a typical prima donna. The actress managed to create a character who is hilarious, mean, pathetic at times, but loveable, and deep. Her every appearance was anticipated and made the play more entertaining and filled with emotion.

The performance of the actress and this very character are the major reasons to see this production and enjoy a modern recreation of a story from the distant past. I highly recommend everyone to see this production irrespective of their possible acquaintance with the musical 42nd Street. If you watched older productions, you will appreciate the modern and even young tone of the play. If you have not seen any productions of the musical, you will enjoy it and have a clear view of what the play looked like decades ago.

References

SOTA Music. (2013). 42nd Street – the complete musical. Youtube.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "42nd Street Musical by Stewart and Bramble." March 18, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/42nd-street-musical-by-stewart-and-bramble/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '42nd Street Musical by Stewart and Bramble'. 18 March.

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