Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Musical Theater Review: "42nd Street"
While no one goes looking to a classic such as "42nd Street" for something bold or edgy, there is a surprising amount of heat to the 1930s-set tale of love, loss and ambition in the golden age of musical theater.
Above all else, the show celebrates the youthful exuberance and beauty of stage performance, and shows off its wares in occasionally skimpy -- though always tasteful -- costumes and a Rockettes-style sea of rhythmically pumping bare legs.
Filmed from a grandiose 2017 West End revival that breathed modern life into what otherwise might be dismissed as a stale, less-than-relevant production, the show shines with immediacy and skill in this Broadway HD-filmed performance.
Fueled by such iconic, show-stopping numbers such as "We're in the Money," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and "Lullaby of Broadway," the show maintains its momentum with old-school charm.
The presentation crackles with the cinematographic style of a film rather than a stuffy recorded play. A mix of close-ups, aerials and balcony-view wide shots makes the show feel alive and vivid -- maybe too much so at times. The acting is often so overdone and boisterous that it devolves into self-parody, with broad delivery and exaggerated facial expressions that generate eye rolls rather than empathy.
No one watches "42nd Street" for the acting, though. This is a feast of glitz, glamor and razzmatazz, and the production cranks those out in spades.
Studio provided screener.