Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Broadway comes to Bay Ridge with '42nd Street'


By Meredith Deliso

The Narrows Community Theater is putting on its tap shoes.

The venerable Bay Ridge group stages “42nd Street,” a blockbuster musical about a blockbuster musical, starting this Friday.

It’s a classic musical, so it should come as no surprise that the show follows a young ingénue, Peggy Sawyer, who lands her big break on Broadway in an extravagant production at the height of the Great Depression.

The resulting show within a show makes for big, memorable dance numbers and toe-tapping show tunes, including “The Lullaby of Broadway” and “We’re in the Money” — which the cast breaks into after finding a dime on the sidewalk (hey, it was the Depression).

“The book is much snappier and funnier than you’d think,” said director Tom Berger. “It gives you a lot to play with.”

The Tony Award-winning book, written by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble in 1980, is based on the 1933 movie of the same name, and Berger appropriately views the show as a throwback to a Broadway of yesteryear.

“The idea of that classic triple threat — singer, actor and dancer — those days don’t exist anymore. People do puppetry, speak different languages, do aerial things,” said Berger. “Instead of doing a modern retelling, it helps to make it more of a period piece.”

The production also marks the company’s return to the Fort Hamilton Army Base, which limited public access after 9-11. As a result of losing its own base, the company’s been a group of traveling minstrels for the past 10 years.

“The fact that we’re having a real home, a real theater, with a real stage, is really great,” said Narrows Community Theater Vice President Ann Gubiotti. “It’s been really good to be back.”

“42nd Street” at Fort Hamilton Army Base [101st Street and Seventh Avenue in Fort Hamilton, (718) 482-3173], May 13 and 14 at 8 pm, May 15 at 3 pm, May 21 at 2 and 8 pm, and May 22 at 3 pm. Tickets $20, $15 for seniors, students and children. For info, visit www.narrowscommunitytheater.com.

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