Classic Broadway Musical - 42nd Street


On August 7, 3pm, the press conference for the premiere of American classic Broadway musical 42nd Street was held in Shanghai. 42nd Street is produced by Troika Entertainment and Broadway Asia Entertainment, and directed by Mark Bramble, the writer and director of the Tony award-winning Broadway revival. From September 5 to 22 this year, the dazzling bright lights of 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York, will be brought on the stage in the Shanghai Majestic Theatre.

Numbers of 42nd Street

The 1980 original was performed on Broadway for nine years (from August 1980 to January 1989); the 2001 revival was on Broadway for four years (from May 2001 to January 2005); 54750 sets of exquisite costumes; over 50 performers together on the stage performing American tap dance; tens of thousands of light bulbs creating a multi-step stage set; a 3m x 7m (height * width) huge mirror will be hung on the stage; nominated for 8 Tony Awards in 1981, winning 2 (Best Musical and Best Choreography); nominated for 8 Tony Awards again in 2001, winning 2 (Best Revival of a Musical and Best Leading Actress of a Musical).

The Authentic Broadway Musical

Starting from 2002, every year one or two musicals were introduced into the Chinese market, but among these productions, Notre-Dame de Paris was from France, while the others, Les Miserables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera, were all productions of West End in London. This time, however, the whole cast of 42nd Street performing in Shanghai was handpicked by Mark Bramble, the author and the director of the Tony Awards winning 42nd Street 2001 revival production. Not many touring musicals can claim to have the playwright participating in the casting process, let alone directing it. Therefore, it is genuinely "Made in Broadway". The crew of 42nd Street is very strict with their work on the stage set. All the technical works of sound equipment are to be done by the American technicians. It is not allowed to open the show if the standard of staging technique did not meet the Broadway requirements. To guarantee the quality of the performance to be the same as the original, all the stage sets and sound systems are brought from the U.S., and nothing will be purchased from the local store.

American-style Broadway Tap Dance

The curtain is up for only a couple inches, with music, hundreds of colorful dancing shoes are clicking on the wooden floor. With the curtain rising up, those dancing legs and skirts show to the audience. Over 50 performers are auditioning for a role in the show. In the happy tap dancing music, the performers are trying everything they can to show their skills and energy. This is the opening scene of American Broadway Musical 42nd Street. The uniqueness of this scene brings fresh air to the audience.

Tap dance has always been the biggest bright spot of 42nd Street. Having over 50 dancers together on the stage performing American tap dance will probably be unprecedented in China. The scene will be absolutely nothing less than the River Dance performed in Shanghai years ago. Apart from the much larger scene, the Shanghai audience should be more familiar with the tap dance style in 42nd Street. Back in the 1930s, in the old Shanghai, American tap dance was already spread among all the large entertainment places. At that time, American tap dance was in the movie Singing in the Rain and the movies by Shirley Temple, from the beginning to the end. It can be said that since decades ago, American tap dance has already built a unique relation with Shanghai.

The 1930s Nostalgia Culture

As a Backstage Musical about American show business in the 30's, 42nd Street shows the daily life of the performers, from rehearsals to performances. It is said to be the "play within a play". On the one hand, 42nd Street shows American views of the old America, and shows the flavor of the 1930's New York. On the other hand, the costumes and the stage set of 42nd Street represent the marvelous Broadway stage of that time. All of these illustrate the Broadway show business in the 30's in the best way. Also, 42nd Street restores the original flavor from its old film version, so in this live performance people who like Hollywood classic movie will have the opportunity to experience the 1930s New York by themselves.

Cinderella's American Dream

As a typical backstage musical, which shows the real life of performers, 42nd Street tells the audience that everyone's dream can come true if one is talented and dedicated.

Mark Bramble, Director of 42nd Street, said, "This is a typical 'Cinderella Story'. I think everyone would like the story. After seeing 42nd Street, everyone will learn something from the show. They would feel like it is a good day to be alive. As to the show business, nothing can be more important than encouraging people in the real life!"

The movie 42nd Street, which was set in the Depression Era, the 1980 original backstage musical 42nd Street, and the exciting revival version of 42nd Street, are all fantastic productions of tears and laughter. 42nd Street is not only a legend of the American Dream, but also a story for everyone standing on the crossroad of life and fighting for their dreams.

The audience, who already saw 42nd Street before, commented that ?2nd Street has everything people are looking for. The musical shows all kinds of typical characters of the show business. The choreography, especially, could blow people away from the first minute to the last. Everyone could not help singing and tap-dancing after the show is over.

Robert Nederlander Jr., from the Nederlander Family in America, remarked that the reason that they chose 42nd Street this time to perform in Shanghai is that this show is the most typical Broadway musical, with big scene and simple conversation in English, and will be easily accepted by the Chinese audience.

Historical Status and Significance

As a typical backstage musical reflecting the life of stage, 42nd Street, by designing a gorgeous stage, tells people that dreams would come true as long as one has talent and works hard. No matter in 1993, 1980 or 2001, no matter in any corner of the world, this theme will always inspire many people to struggle for their dreams.

If the movie 42nd Street in 1933 aimed at wiping off people's pain from the economic crisis, seeking comfort from the scene of dancing and singing, and injecting hopes and dreams into people's life during the Great Depression; If the original musical 42nd Street in 1980 brought Broadway musicals out of the British invasion, and facilitated the revival of the whole Broadway musical industry, then the 2001 revived version most vividly reflected the prosperity of the contemporary spirit of entertainment in the American society, and once again ignited the creative passion of Broadway musicals.


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Classic Broadway Musical - 42nd Street

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