Twenty years, can you feel how long a time that is? In this amount of time, the world could be completely changed twice over and babies born would already be university students. Can you believe that something could be constantly popular for this long? ‘42nd Street’ is a musical which has held its fame for over twenty years. Twenty years is such a long time. There are new musicals made every year and people easily get sick and tired of the same musicals. Also, musical actors are always changing, so it is not usual that people watch a musical just to see a specific actor that they are a fan of. Nevertheless, 42nd Street is holding its fame and popularity I went to go see for myself why people have been attracted to this music for so long.
The plot of 42nd Street is a story of a lady named Peggy Sawyer’s and her success at a musical actor from countryside. She has a dream of becoming a musical star. She tries to test herself in the audition called ‘pretty lady’ which is being directed by Julian Marsh, who wants to restart his career with his show. However, Peggy hesitates and finally doesn’t go to the audition. When she decides that she is going to return to her hometown, she accidently meets the three chorus girls who were selected for the show and she shows her talent in front of them. At the same time, choreographer Andy passes by, and he casts her as one of the chorus girls after he sees her dancing because he thinks she has talent. While the first play of ‘pretty lady’ opened in Philadelphia, Peggy is fired because of a surprising misunderstanding about an accident that injures the shows main star, Dorothy. Then, Julian quits the production because he thinks that no one can play the Dorothy’s part. However, one chorus girl tells Julian that Peggy can do that part. Julian refuses the suggestion right away. However, continuous persuasion makes Julian think that Peggy should take the role of the main heroine if he wants to continue the show. Therefore, Julian persuades her just as she is about to return to her hometown. He gives her Dorothy’ big role with only thirty-six hours left before the show!
There are some impressive parts in 42nd Street when compared with other musicals. First of all, in the musical, actors reveal the expression called ‘dancing leg’. Like the name suggests, actors’ legs are used a lot when they are dancing in this musical. Tap dance, which is danced by wearing special heeled shoes, comprises most of the dance sections of the musical. Not only does tap dance catch audience`s attention, but it also enhances the acoustics of the show. In moments where the actors tap dance without accompanying background music, the audience really gets drawn into the performance.
Second, the other unique part of this musical is the composition of the story. The story is very innovative because the audience has a sense that two musicals are happening simultaneously. It’s a story within a story and a musical within a musical.
Finally, the lighting is a special attraction of this musical. 42nd Street gives us a unique feeling that the entire three levels of the theater are showered in the light of a mirror ball. During the musical, actors use mirrors and shadows directly. This makes the actors able to more naturally control the size of their movements, and also makes their dancing much more prominent. This helps the audience to concentrate on the dance and really gets everyone cheering and excited. The scene in which shadows become large and small makes it feel like you`re watching a scene from a Disney’s movie. The scene which is using a mirror directs the audience’s attention to amazing scenes and helps to better compose the actors’ individual movements.
The two reporters who watched the musical were so enthralled that the 160 minutes of the performance really flew by, and that’s really not a short musical at all. One reporter says that she was drawn into the performance more because the music was performed by live musicians and not prerecorded. In addition, she says that she was pleased because she could listen to the cheerful sounds of tap dancing, see the beautifully showy set design, and enjoy the amazing lighting effects. Another reporter said that showy lighting and various stage costumes, props were impressive. Also, there was an unexpected funny part in the musical so, she says that she couldn’t take her eyes off the show.
It’s really hard for musicals to be successful for such a long time without having really unique and charming moments. 42nd Street has these special charms and it’s unique features give it a real advantage when compared to others. The musical’s innovative and original story composition, the create use of lighting and mirrors, and the maximizing effects of tap dance all are entertaining aspects that other musicals will find hard to compete with. These simply can’t be seen easily in other musicals. These all have also helped to sustain 42nd Street`s fame and popularity for over twenty years. Society is very competitive and it`s hard to survive. The people who survive in this society makes their own characteristics an advantage. Now that we are full-fledged adults and the time for us to join the rest of society of gradually coming. Before then, why not find our own unique features and make them our strengths?< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >