By Kenneth Jones
02 Jan 2005
The production, directed by the show's co-librettist Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, won the 2001 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and earned Christine Ebersole a Best Actress (Musical) Tony.
Following the 7:30 PM Jan. 2 show, the staging will have played 1,556 performances (including 31 previews and one Actors' Fund performance).
The Ford Center for the Performing Arts will next host the British musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the musical film of the same name. With the March 2005 start of that show, the Ford Center will be re-named the Hilton Theatre. The venue is a merging of two theatres that stood on a hunk of land between Times Square and Eighth Avenue, with entrances on both 42nd Street and 43rd Street.
42nd Street, also inspired by a movie, opened in this new and expanded staging May 2, 2001. The show was a lavish smash in 1980, but Skinner (the tap wizad who assisted the original director Gower Champion) and Bramble wanted to incorporate new sequences and visual ideas that were not available to them 20 years ago, whether due to money, time or technological issues.
New to audiences this time, for example, was a massive mirror that dropped over the chorus to show the audiences the overheard view of the dance patterns (as in the original Warner Bros. movie).
In an unusual move, the producers announced March 3, 2004, that the show would close by the following January. It was an effort to inform groups and single ticketbuyers in the hope they might plan ahead. Over the summer, Shirley Jones and son Patrick Cassidy stepped into the show, boosting box office. She played aging diva Dorothy Brock (the Ebersole role) and he played the gruff producer, Julian Marsh (created in this revival by Michael Cumpsty).
Produced by Dodger Stage Holding and Joop van den Ende, 42nd Street also received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical Revival.
Commenting on the closing announcement earlier in 2004, Michael David, a principal with Dodger Stage Holding, said "We are thrilled that 42nd Street will have run for more than 1,600 performances."
The Broadway production was close to recouping its investment, Playbill On-Line learned, and is expected to eventully pay back via the tour, licensing and in other ways.
Borrowing songs from old Warner Bros. movies, Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble wrote the book (based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the film of the same name), Harry Warren wrote the music, and Al Dubin wrote the lyrics.
The design team includes Douglas W. Schmidt (sets), Roger Kirk (costumes) and Paul Gallo (lighting).
A national tour of the production continues.
David Elder is the only member of the original 2001 principal cast still tapping away (he plays the juvenile lead, Billy Lawlor). The closing night cast includes Patrick Cassidy (as Julian Marsh), Blair Ross (as Dorothy Brock), Nadine Isenegger (as Peggy), Patti Mariano (as Maggie Jones), Frank Root (as Bert Barry), Chris Clay (as Andy Lee), Michael Dantuono (as Pat Denning), Richard Pruitt (as Abner Dillon), Alana Salvatore (as Annie), Steve Luker (as Mac), Greg Beck (as Oscar), Angela Kahle (as Phyllis), Kelly Sheehan (as Lorraine), Merritt Tyler Hawkins (as Diane), Susan Haefner (as Ethel), with Will Armstrong, Becky Berstler, Graham Bowen, Michael Clowers, Maryam Myika Day, Alexander DeJong, Nikki Della Penta, Angie Everett, Luis Figueroa, Melissa Giattino, Brad Hampton, Kolina Janneck, Sarah L. Johnson, Jennifer Jones, Regan Kays, Dontee Kiehn, Jessica Kostival, Alison Levenberg, Gavin Lodge, Brian J. Marcum, Jennifer Marquardt, Amy Miller, Amy Palomino, Wes Pope, Wendy Rosoff, John James Scacchetti, Kristyn D. Smith, Vanessa Sonon, Erin Stoddard, Jonathan Taylor, Erika Vaughn, Mike Warshaw, Kelli Barclay, Jeremy Benton, Cara Kjellman, Tony Palomino, Elisa Van Duyne and Merrill West.