“42nd Street” at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton is a tiptop, toe-tapper of a musical.
Filled with memorable hits such as “We’re in the Money,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and, of course, the titular tune, the show overcomes the digital orchestra thing with bright and brassy direction from Norb Joerder and wowie-zowie choreography by Ron Hutchins.
It’s an old-fashioned, quintessential backstage Broadway story: Peggy Sawyer (Julie Kleiner) is plucked from the chorus of a new show, “Pretty Lady,” by director Julian Marsh (Jim Ballard) when star Dorothy Brock (Aaron Bower) can’t go on.
Supporting cast members Missy McArdle and Jeffrey Bruce slide in some of the bigger laughs as the co-authors of the show-within-a-show. And there is some dazzling dancing (no, seriously, dazz-a-ling) from Alex Jorth and Christopher George Patterson as the juvenile lead and dance director of “Pretty Lady,” respectively.
Of course, a performance this big isn’t without some detraction. The show only hums with power during the production numbers, from the opening when we see 16 pairs of legs all time-stepping in perfect unison underneath a curtain raised about four feet all the way to the humdinger of a finale where “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” is re-imagined with tap shoes.
What happens in between isn’t always as funny as it could be. Some of the physical stuff falls flat, and transitions here and there simply don’t work.
As you might imagine the costumes – a compilation of the original 1980 Broadway production and the 2001 revival, both now a part of the Wick’s attached costume museum – are impressive, even if curiously a few don’t read as lavish as they should.
But man, oh, man, can these kids dance. For two hours (with a 15-minute intermission), they hoof it, and hoof it hard.
“42nd Street” will run through Feb. 15 at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, in Boca Raton. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $58. Call 561-995-2333 or go to TheWick.org.