Last evening, I had the pleasure of attending the final dress rehearsal for Red Mountain Theatre Company’s show stopping 42nd Street! This show should make all of the Birmingham community proud. RMTC has truly brought one of Broadway’s most memorable spectacle musicals to life.
Set in 1933 washed up Broadway director Julian Marsh [Cecil E. Washington] attempts to mount his new ground breaking show Pretty Lady during the midst of the Great Depression. All the while, he is battling headstrong, past her prime Dorothy Brock [Celeste Burmum] and a run of bad luck. Marsh leads his team of crew and dancers to Broadway fame.
Veteran director Keith Cromwell leads this all-star cast to a very exciting, crisp production in the wonderful Dorothy Jemison Day Theater at ASFA. Cromwell’s direction in this production is right on point in bringing the audience into the behind-the-scenes of show business in full technicolor. The production was well paced and kept a cheerful perspective throughout the two hour and fifteen minute runtime.
The productions marketing materials claims the production to be a “Tap Dancing Extravaganza” and it is just that! Leading the charge is the perky and hilarious Nicole Lamb playing Peggy Sawyer, the neophyte actress who stumbles her way into fame. Lamb’s performance and quick feet are nothing short of impressive and is a highlight during the show. Countered by the charming Kevin Metzger, playing big shot juvenile actor Billy Lawlor, these two make a perfect match to each others dancing talents.
Perhaps one of my favorite characters was the motherly Maggie Jones played by Birmingham super-star Kristin Staskowski. She was the calming line through the entire debacle that the show’s characters encounter. Staskowski was gut-busting and took this roll precisely where it needed to be. Carrying a impressively strong performance was Cecil Washington playing the strong armed director Julian Marsh. Washington’s tender moments during the “Act Two Finale” were pure perfection with his well groomed, smooth vocal performance.
Perhaps the real star of this show, with out a doubt, is the amazing ensemble! This group moves and grooves from the moment the curtain rises until the final down beat. The dancing, to say the least, was spectacular. Lead by Co-Director/Choreographer Parker Esse, this ensemble will have you walking away smiling and wondering how any human could tap dance for a straight two hours! Their spot on performance and timing drove home the Broadway quality performance we are yearning for here in the Magic City.
At times, the rented set felt flat; but, the crew ran the show smoothly and the entire performance lacked any type of pauses or awkward moments that sometimes can occur in large scale productions of this type. The costumes provided by the Kansas Costume Company were a monumental success. Perhaps the most impressive number was the glittery spectacle “We’re in the Money”. The costumes for the number drew you right back into that 1930 Broadway glam you would imagine.
This show is wonderfully executed and is sure to please. If your tired of the heat and the rain this summer, grab your family and tickets to this Birmingham phenomena. We are going to be talking about this one for quite a long time.
The show runs July 11- August 4 and tickets range from $30 – $40. You can hop onto RMTC’s Website to purchase tickets.