Ephie Aardema and Tyler Hanes in Pittsburgh CLO's 42nd Street_ Photo Matt Polk.jpg

The CLO is hitting the ground running and they’re not stopping. Their 2013 summer season is bursting at the seams with old blockbusters like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, awesome reimaginings like Phantom, a musical biopic about Buddy Holly, and the pearl in the oyster, the diamond in the sea…Disney’s The Little Mermaid.  And the show to kick it all off is that perennial favorite, 42nd Street.

So, should you come and meet those dancing feet?

Let’s see.

The Songs

I Only Have Eyes for You.

We’re in the Money.

You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me.

Lullaby of Broadway.

42nd Street.

These are numbers that I know you know. I know it.  I mean, there are many other great songs, but these are the ones. Whether or not you even realize you know them, I know that you know them. The minute you hear the first few bars, you’ll be like, oooooh, I do know that song! And you’ll be so glad to hear them again, and to hear them sung so well!  There’s a full orchestra for this musical and it’s led brilliantly by Tom Helm. The actors belt out each note with all the ease and confidence of masters.

The Dancing

It would be hard to eclipse such glorious singing. Luba Mason as Dorothy Brock does a fantastic, utterly captivating I Only Have Eyes for You. Tyler Hanes sings all sorts of sweet somethings with Young and Healthy, and Patrick Ryan Sullivan belts out Lullaby of Broadway as if he was born singing the song. Like I said, hard to eclipse numbers like that. But…the dancing almost does it. The dancing almost renders everything else unnecessary. The curtain rises and all you see, for about ten wonderful seconds, is perfectly pointed and intricately choreographed legs and feet. And then it continues to rise, showing a full ensemble of dancers tapping their hearts out. What a way to literally kick off a show!  And the dancing never wavers from there. It never gets easy, it never goes slow. The ensemble really killed every number, and a special shout out must go to Tyler Hanes, whose Billy Lawlor danced as if he’d never dance again! Every whip of his head, every flex of his hand, every click and kick and shuffle and tap….perfection!  Kudos to choreographer Michael Lichtefeld.  The dancing was sublime.

The Story

It’s a sweet tale really, of young Peggy Sawyer trying to make it on Broadway. Along the way, she must deal with a stage diva (Luba Mason’s Dorothy Brock), a charismatic charmer (Tyler Hanes’ Billy Lawlor; read above), a maternal, firecracker of a stage mama (Charis Leos’ Maggie Jones), and an unforgiving, demanding director (Patrick Ryan Sullivan’s Julian Marsh). There are also gangsters and chorus girls and CLO returning favorite, George Dvorsky’s Pat Denning, who may or may not be carrying a flame for Ms. Brock.

Director Charles Repole paced it perfectly and although the story is set in the 1930’s, it still resonates with fun and heart and never seems dated. This show is full of charm and humor and is perfectly family friendly. It’s old school Broadway, where the good guys were good, the bad guys were bad, girls were called dames and guys could grab a girl, kiss her, and make her go totally weak in the knees like that.  Life needs to be more like 42nd Street: a fun, laugh-out-loud, toe-tapping, happy-ever-after experience.