Testa & Freeman Are Jones & Barry in 42nd Street; Previews Start April 4, Opening May 2

News   Testa & Freeman Are Jones & Barry in 42nd Street; Previews Start April 4, Opening May 2 The upcoming Broadway revival of 42nd Street will feature Jonathan Freeman and Mary Testa as respective fictional musical-comedy writers Bert Barry and Maggie Jones, the production announced Jan. 10.

The upcoming Broadway revival of 42nd Street will feature Jonathan Freeman and Mary Testa as respective fictional musical-comedy writers Bert Barry and Maggie Jones, the production announced Jan. 10.

It was also announced that the first preview of the tap musical will be April 4, with an opening of May 2, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

"Jones & Barry" are the writers who pen the musical event around which 42nd Street — the classic American backstage musical — revolves. Jones & Barry's latest show (within the show) is called Pretty Lady. In true musical-fable form, a tap dancer named Peggy Sawyer, fresh from Allentown, PA, auditions for the chorus and ends up taking over the lead.

The rest of the company for director-librettist Mark Bramble's revival has not been announced, though buzz in the community has Christine Ebersole playing the middle-aged star, Dorothy Brock, and David Elder as tap-dancing tenor Billy Lawlor.

Freeman is fresh from A Class Act at Manhattan Theatre Club and appeared in On the Town, How to Succeed in Business... and was Tony Award-nominated for playing the head waiter in the revival of She Loves Me. Testa was Tony-nominated for playing Madame Dilly in The Public Theater's On the Town, and is currently in Kathleen Tolan's The Wax at Playwrights Horizons. In the original production, the Comden-and-Green-styled Jones & Barry participate in "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and Jones sings with chorines in "Go Into Your Dance." The musical is drawn from the famous Warner Bros. movie of the same name, and pulls Al Dubin and Harry Warren songs from that and other Depression-era pictures ("Dames" and the "Gold Diggers" movies). Michael Stewart and Bramble co-wrote the book. David Merrick produced the splashy original production in 1980, and it ran more than eight years. It won the 1981 Tony for Best Musical.

Randy Skinner is recreating the late Gower Champion's Tony Award-winning choreography, although insiders know that it was Skinner who was largely responsible for the tap dances in the show (Champion's strength was more athletic work, and larger stage pictures).

The design team includes Doug Schmidt (sets), Roger Kirk (costumes), Paul Gallo (lighting). Todd Ellison is musical director, Donald Johnston is dance arranger and wrote additional orchestrations.

The original film was based on a novel by Bradford Ropes.