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42nd STREET Music by Harry Warren Lyrics by Al Dubin: Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble: Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes : Direction and dance by Gower Champion : Originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick Winter Gardens Broadway - 25 August, 1980 (3486 perfs) Theatre Royal, Drury Lane - 8 August, 1984 42nd Street has been described as the definitive backstage musical - a show about a show. STORY: Act I It begins just as the auditions for a fictitious Broadway musical, Pretty Lady, are drawing to a close. One young dancer, Peggy Sawyer, has not made it to the auditions on time but, luckily for her, her unceremonious entrance has caught the eye of the show's leading man, Billy Lawlor, who promises to help her secure or audition. Unfortunately, the director is too busy to deal with latecomers. The same goes for revered producer - Julian Marsh, who arrives to give his pre-rehearsal pep-talk. Peggy is ordered to leave the theatre and shortly after, the star of the show, veteran leading lady Dorothy Brock, arrives with her sugar-daddy, Abner Dillon. Dorothy is proving to be something of a headache for producer Marsh. She has only landed the starring role because Dillon is the show's principal backer, and is therefore determined to play the role of star up to the hilt. However, her petulance and threats to walk out, taking Dillon's cash with her, hold little sway with the producer, who will not be ordered about by anyone. Eventually Dorothy does start to rehearse, albeit sulkily. During a break in rehearsals, Dorothy meets Pat Denning, an ex-lover end partner from her vaudeville days. She is still in love with him but does not want to risk the situation she has with the rich Abner Dillon, and the starring role in Pretty Lady that goes with it. Dorothy and Denning arrange to meet only when Dillon is not around. Meanwhile, Peggy has returned to the theatre to collect her purse, which she had forgotten during her hurried exit, There she is invited by some of the other dancers to lunch at a nearby tea-room. The girls decide to dance to the tea-room, and Peggy joins in, showing that she con manage even the most difficult dance steps. After lunch, the group dance back to the theatre where they learn that the chorus is one girl short. The producer declares that he has a good mind to employ the first girl who comes past. Peggy realises that this is her chance and, to demonstrate her dancing ability, gives an impromptu performance right there in the street. Marsh is impressed and hires Peggy on the spot. Billy and Dorothy Brock rehearse the love scene under the watchful eye of Abner Dillon. At one point, he insists that handshakes are substituted for kisses, Peggy, who hasn't had sufficient time to prepare for her first dance number, makes a mess of the routine, causing Dorothy to lose her temper. Peggy faints and has to be taken to Dorothy's dressing room to recover. There she is received by Denning, who is waiting to meet Dorothy. Unfortunately, Dorothy walks in just as Denning is administering to the unconscious Peggy. She is furious at what she sees. At this point Dillon barges in and Denning has to be passed off as Peggy's boyfriend to avoid a scene. Meanwhile the producer is getting increasingly worried about Dorothy's actions and the risks they pose to the show, so he arranges for a friendly gangster to run Denning out of town. Without saying goodbye to Dorothy, Denning ups and leaves for Philadelphia. Unknown to him, however, the out-oftown tryout of Pretty Lady has been rescheduled at the last minute - to Philadelphia! At the final rehearsal, Dorothy gets annoyed at being left out of the big dance number. At a party that evening, she gets drunk end tells Dillon what she really thinks of him, before ringing around to try and find Denning. Marsh reacts by calling his gangster friend, but is overheard by Peggy, who rushes to warn Dorothy,