Look Back at the Original Production of 42nd Street on Broadway

Photos   Look Back at the Original Production of 42nd Street on Broadway
The musical, based on the 1933 film, opened on Broadway August 25, 1980.
42nd Street_Broadway_Production Photos_1980_X_HR
Cast of 42nd Street Martha Swope/New York Public Library

August 25 marks the anniversary of the original Broadway production of 42nd Street, based on the classic 1933 movie. The musical, which opened in 1980, was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion and featured a cast which included Jerry Orbach, Tammy Grimes, Wanda Richert, and Lee Roy Reams.

The musical originally premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York. Champion remained ill during much of his work on the production, culminating in his untimely death just hours before the show opened on Broadway; his death was announced onstage during the opening night curtain call by producer David Merrick. Champion was ultimately honored with a Tony Award for his choreography and a nomination for his direction, while the show itself won Best Musical.

42nd Street remains the 15th longest-running show in Broadway history. The production ran for 3,486 performances and moved theatres twice during its run—first departing its original home at the Winter Garden Theatre to make room for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, and later exiting the Majestic Theatre so that Webber's The Phantom of the Opera could take over the space. The show completed its run on January 8, 1989, at the St. James Theatre.

Flip through photos from the production below:

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