Put on your tap shoes and dance your way down to 42nd Street! I saw this fabulous musical at the Coronado Playhouse over the weekend. Since this was my first experience at the Playhouse, I wasn’t sure what to expect. With multiple events going on at the Coronado Recreation Center, we had a little difficulty finding a parking space, but once we did, we were able to get our tickets and get inside the theater with no trouble. Tip: Give yourself time to find parking.
The Coronado Playhouse, located at 1835 Strand Way, is one of the oldest community theaters in San Diego County. This bayfront theater puts on five productions per year, and also runs theater classes and some other community events. Once we entered the playhouse, I was excited to see that the seating was cabaret style – small tables arranged around the room, which has a total capacity of one hundred people. The tables were adorned with pretty centerpieces of flowers floating in a glass bowl and the enthusiastic audience was clearly excited to be there. Behind the seating area, there is an impressive snack bar, with a variety of well-priced snacks and drinks.
42nd Street is a musical set in the Depression-Era 1930s. Julian Marsh is an extremely famous director putting on one last show, Pretty Lady. Peggy Sawyer is a young hopeful, fresh off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Peggy manages to score the role of a chorus girl in the production. The star of Pretty Lady is one-hit wonder Dorothy Brock – Marsh only casted her in order to get the financial aid that was promised to him by Brock’s wealthy boyfriend. Just before the show is set to open, Dorothy breaks her ankle, rendering her unable to dance, and blames it on Peggy, who is immediately fired. Julian Marsh says that without a star, there can be no show. The chorus kids are desperate to find a replacement before opening night. Can the show still go on?
The director of this musical is Chrissy Burns, an award-winning director and choreographer. According to her, the theme of this show is hard work, dedication, and focus on a goal. This is certainly true – the chorus kids of Pretty Lady are so poor that this musical is the only thing separating them from the streets. Burns says that “This story really resonates for me. Especially in this time of recession where we all have to pinch our pennies.”
The singing and dancing were superb throughout the entire show, with stand-out performances by Melisa De Seguirant as Peggy Sawyer and Francena Bragg as Dorothy Brock. The acoustics in the room were excellent – the sound was consistently loud and clear. The set design fit every number perfectly. The costumes were also great – they added to the songs but were not over the top. The characters were very convincing – my favorite character was Julian Marsh, who is portrayed by Danny Ingersoll. In my opinion, the changes in setting and props flowed so smoothly that I hardly noticed them. The clever transition into the intermission of the play was creative and added a lot of authenticity. I was expecting 42nd Street to just be a musical, but was surprised and pleased to find that it was also very comical and humorous.
42nd Street runs January 27th – March 4th, 2012. For more information, go to the Coronado Playhouse website. All in all I would definitely recommend this musical to my friends – it is a great experience for the whole family!
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