Village Theatre presents tap spectacular ‘42nd Street’

May 18, 2010

By Kathleen R. Merrill

There might be no better way to close out a theater season than with “42nd Street,” especially when you do it incredibly well.

And well in this instance means with unbelievable choreography, amazing costumes and super-talented dancers, as well as great voices that really soar and blend stunningly during group numbers.

Village Theatre continues to amaze audiences with quality performances that rival any “big” theater. Maybe its nickname should be “the little theater that could.”

Mercer Island resident Don Clark said “42nd Street” is one of his favorite plays, so much so that he has even seen it on Broadway.

“I couldn’t tell any difference,” he said when asked how the local version compared. “They were that good.”

Village Theatre James Scheider (Billy Lawlor) and members of the company perform ‘I Only Have Eyes For You,’ from the Village Theatre production of ‘42nd Street.’ By Jay Koh

The rousing first number was met with just as rousing applause and the justified adoration continued from there. The technicality of the dances just makes you want to cheer.

“To say that this is a tap dance extravaganza is an understatement,” Issaquah resident Ray Extract said.

Krystle Armstrong is excellent as ingénue Peggy Sawyer with her big, bright voice, but you might love more her comedic timing and attitude that’s reminiscent of Lucille Ball.

While Shelly Burch starts out as delightfully awful as Dorothy Brock, she plays the aging diva with elegance and panache. If you’re no longer 25, you’ll likely find her performance touching and even a bit heart wrenching.

No one wants to pass the torch, but Burch shows how to do it with class.

John Bogar plays Julian Marsh with power and style. He has a big voice that will blow you away. Ditto for James Scheider, who plays Billy Lawlor.

Those who worked on the costumes must have had a wonderful time putting together the parade of garments here.

There’s a full rainbow of colors in several scenes and the gowns in the number “Dames” will take your breath away. And the glitz of “We’re in The Money” is pure, unadulterated fun. You’ll howl at the giant coins and wonder how the sequins on the costumes keep time with the music.

To steal part of a line from the musical’s famous “42nd Street (Reprise),” the production is “naughty, bawdy, gaudy, sporty.” Make “42nd Street” your destination. You’ll be glad you did.

If you go

Village Theatre’s ‘42nd Street’

  • Francis J. Gaudette Theatre
  • 303 Front St. N.
  • Various dates and showtimes through July 3
  • $23 – $59
  • 392-2202 or www.villagetheatre.org
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