Classic musical “42nd Street” is singing and dancing its story of Broadway and the American dream onto the stage of the Grand Opera House next week.
Matthew Taylor, who plays Julian Marsh in this touring edition of “42nd Street,” said he sees this show as a much needed “breath of fresh air.”
“This is a great time to come and see this show. It is a reminder that even in the darkness there is hope and excitement. There is still hope amidst the uncertainty,” he said.
The musical version of “42nd Street” is based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and also on a 1933 movie.
“Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, the authors (of the musical), walked out of a vintage theater in the 1970s and knew they had to write it,” Taylor said. “A few years later, it opened on Broadway. It has continued to great success.”
“What’s funny, is that it launched the career of Catherine Zeta Jones,” Taylor added. “She became a star because of it.”
The musical tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer, who leaves her small town home and comes to New York to audition for a new Broadway musical. When the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star overnight.
“Clara Cox, who plays Peggy Sawyer, really fits the picture of wide-eyed innocence and excitement,” Taylor said. “Peggy ... embodies the wide-eyed hope that Broadway really is.”
Taylor’s character, Julian Marsh, is the “King of Broadway,” he said. “It’s 1933 and the Great Depression has hit. The banks have closed and Julian is trying to breathe life back into his name and his brand, and into the great American musical comedy.”
Taylor admitted that the biggest draw of seeing “42nd Street” on stage are the musical numbers. The show includes classic Broadway tunes such as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and of course, “42nd Street.”
“I would love to say that people are coming to the theater to see me, but the truth is that people are coming for the 20-something tap-dancing feet. It’s classic and stylish and smooth and simple, but complex and beautiful at the same time,” Taylor said.