WAAPA’s 42nd Street – Toe Tapping Extravaganza

42nd Street is a toe tapping extravaganza presented by a proficient and polished cast of second and third year musical theatre WAPPA (Western Australian Academy of Perfroming Arts) students. The production will have you dancing out of the theatre humming the tunes in your head.

WAAPA's 42nd Street
WAAPA’s 42nd Street | Photo by Jon Green

It has been a while since I have seen 42nd Street and I forgot how much tapping is in the show. It is more of a tap show than a musical. The physical demands on a cast to perform the show are great but to perform the dance numbers with such precision and accuracy demands discipline and I’m sure, a lot of rehearsal. Something this years group of second and third year students presenting the major mid year musical must have had to endure over the rehearsal period.

The set designed by Tyler Hill and costumes by Sarah Duyvestyn are dazzling and reflect the fashions of the thirties. Costume design for the musical number ‘Dames’ are quintessential American Hollywood complete with headsets with flashing lights. The comedy of the number is created as the male cast members steal the scene from the gorgeous dames waiting to descend the stairs, swinging canes dressed in bright gold tops and sunglasses. ‘The Shadow Waltz is’ also a stand out scene as shadows are created on a giant screen to enable cast to create some hilarious shadow scenes.

The three leading ladies in the production are a standout and take turns at sharing the limelight. Mackenzie Dunn, as Peggy Sawyer has a smile and stage presence that radiates out into the audience while Lucy Ross as Dorothy Brock oozes the necessary charm and sex appeal needed for her character.  Their duet ‘About a Quarter to Nine’ is  flawless and memorising. Laura Jackson as Maggie Jones is played with perfect comedic timing and all three female leads have voices that are able to belt out the numbers from the catchy score. Joshua White as Julian Marsh gives a solid performance as the producer of ‘Beautiful Girls’. This can be a difficult role to perform, however His part requires some convincing acting as a producer that must make some tough decisions. From the moment Peggy Sawyer bumps into him you get the feeling this tough producer has a soft spot for Peggy.

The ensemble support the cast with high energy dance numbers choreographed by Lisa O’Dea. The choreography is exact with all cast members hitting arm lines and positions with precision. At times there were so many cast tapping on the stage the fact they were able to dance around without hitting each other was in itself impressive.

The orchestra was once again capably lead under the baton of David King, who was musical director of the 1989 Australian production.

To paraphrase a line from the show. This cast went out a group of youngsters but came back as stars! Grab your tickets now and be sure not to miss “the beat of dancing feet” as this cast transport you to the avenue of 42nd Street. Tickets available through Ticketek.

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