It’s kind of hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the idea of adapting a movie musical for the Broadway stage was just about unthinkable. “42nd Street” was the show that started to change attitudes.
In 1980, 37 years after the film version was a big hit, “42nd Street” came to Broadway. The quintessential backstage musical, which features such classic Harry Warren-Al Dubin songs as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “42nd Street,” ran for almost a decade. It won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography. (It was the last show that Gower Champion choreographed. He died just a few hours before curtain on opening night.)
A national non-Equity touring production is stopping at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for one show only, on Friday. It’s directed by Mark Bramble, who co-wrote the book and directed the 2001 Broadway version. That production earned the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Randy Skinner, who choreographed the 2001 staging, choreographed this one, too.
The Depression-era story has to do with a wide-eyed small-town girl named Peggy Sawyer who comes to New York with dreams of landing a role in the a new Broadway musical called “Pretty Lady.” She’s not cast at first, but when the star breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes the toast of Broadway.
Details: 8 p.m. Dec. 30, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $36-$91. 941-953-3368, vanwezel.org.