Tap your feet to ALT Academy's production of the Broadway musical '42nd Street' in July

·3 min read

This month, Amarillo Little Theatre's ALT Academy and AAA Electric will be presenting "42nd Street," a high action, toe-tapping musical set in the 1930s and based on the 1981 production, which won two Tony awards for Best Choreography and Best Musical.

Savannah Miller, Emerson Johnston, Allie Groomer, Claire Attaway, Mattie Gillespie, Sterling Knight and Holland Wright perform for Broadway lights as a part of Amarillo Little Theatre Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street." The classic Broadway musical comes to the Allen Shankles Mainstage July 8 through July 17.
Savannah Miller, Emerson Johnston, Allie Groomer, Claire Attaway, Mattie Gillespie, Sterling Knight and Holland Wright perform for Broadway lights as a part of Amarillo Little Theatre Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street." The classic Broadway musical comes to the Allen Shankles Mainstage July 8 through July 17.

"The plot to this show seems really thin. It's as thick as a piece of paper, but that is what is so genius because the more you look at it, the more you see it. It is like a satirical love letter to the business itself," said ALT Academy Director Mikayla Garren. "You have the stereotypical characters that make up this cast, but the writers gave them depth by writing in each character's personal love letter, exclaiming why theater is so magical, and you can see that in every single part of the story."

The story takes place in the year 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression, where highly successful Broadway producer Julian Marsh finds himself down on his luck and decides to put all he has into making another Broadway hit. Along the way, Marsh casts Broadway hopeful Peggy Sawyer as the leading role. As Sawyer strives to make her big debut, disaster hits the company, leaving the success of the show on her shoulders.

Claire Attaway, left, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Maddox Nite portraying Julian Marsh perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production"42nd Street."
Claire Attaway, left, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Maddox Nite portraying Julian Marsh perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production"42nd Street."

"Peggy is very bright and excited and dreams of being on Broadway, and this is her one chance. Watching it, and even while I perform, you just get so captivated in the show; you fall in love with the characters and the story," said Claire Attaway, who plays Sawyer in the show.

Like her character, this will be Attaway's first leading role with the Academy, along with co-star Maddox Nite portraying the Broadway director Marsh.

"Julian is the director of 'Pretty Lady,' the show within the show. He is a man's man calling all the shots. He's in charge of everything, a very strict and no-nonsense guy. ... There is a line in the show, 'Broadway dreams, we've all had them,' and that's something my character resonates with because he has sort of fallen out of love with the theater, and over the course of the show, he comes to find the beauty and amazing presence of the theater again," Nite said.

Claire Attaway, left, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."
Claire Attaway, left, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."

This ALT production features 25 Academy students, from ages 11 to 18, directed by Mikayla Garren. Academy Instructor and Music Director Brandon Bellar brings the music of Harry Warren to life, and Academy Instructor and Choreographer Beth Alexander fills the stage with exciting tap numbers.

"42nd Street" holds several toe-tapping numbers, including “Lullaby of Broadway” and “We’re In the Money,” and longtime favorites such as “About A Quarter To Nine.”

"'Lullaby of Broadway' has its own meaning for us. It is the theater persons song, our theme song. It encapsulates everything that there is to love about theater and being able to perform that piece to give to the people and maybe help them to find a love in the theater as well. ... It will be sight to see for sure," Nite said.

From left, Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler, Ashlyn Baum portraying Dorothy Brock and Maddox Nite portraying Julian Marsh perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."
From left, Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler, Ashlyn Baum portraying Dorothy Brock and Maddox Nite portraying Julian Marsh perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."

The set is designed by Tana Roberson, with Tiffany Laur as costume designer, dressing the cast in time-appropriate attire.

"This show is very different from the shows that we have done this season in the ALT Academy. We are supplying completely new costumes with sequin leotards, three-piece suits, 1930 hair styles, as well as the set design with panels, red grand drapes, and stairs. There is something big and theatrical in every scene, so the visual magic will be fantastic," Garren said.

Academy alumna Kaycee Humphrey serves as assistant director; Jeffrey Pickens serves as assistant music director, and Velvet Knight and Austen Jones serve as production assistants.

Claire Attaway, right, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."
Claire Attaway, right, portraying Peggy Sawyer and Wesley Wilburn portraying Billy Lawler perform a scene in ALT Academy's upcoming production "42nd Street."

This classic Broadway musical comes to the Allen Shankles Mainstage July 8 through July 17.

Ticket prices are $18 for ages 12 and older and $15 for ages younger than 12. Tickets are on sale now; reservations can be made by calling the ALT box office at 806-355-9991 or online at www.amarillolittletheatre.org.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: ALT Academy's '42nd Street' delivers bright lights of Broadway musical