Thursday, November 20, 2003

'42nd Street' will have you tapping your toes



The song promised: "If you've a melancholy case of the blues, I've got a remedy for you." Ursuline Academy's recent production of 42nd Street offered a cure for anyone's blues with sharp choreography, strong voices and excellent dancers.

Based on a 1933 movie of the same name, 42nd Street is about a small-town girl named Peggy (Elise Turner)who pursues a career on Broadway. Eventually, she becomes a chorus girl for a new show called "Pretty Lady," directed by the famous Julia Marsh (Becky Freking)and written by Bert (Eric Byrd) and Maggie (Claire Enouen).

A highlight was the outstanding choreography by Christine Mueller and Turner. Completely student-choreographed, the dance numbers were complicated and worked well with the music. In tap numbers such as "We're in the Money" and "42nd Street," the dancers' movements were in sync and the silence between taps was perfect.

There were also many impressive vocal and acting performances. Freking was always easily understood. She also proved to have a gorgeous voice during her solos in "Lullaby of Broadway" and "42nd Street (Reprise)." Enouen's numerous parts in songs such as "Keep Young and Beautiful" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" showed her smooth voice and stage presence. And Kelly Klein did a wonderful job playing the diva, hitting her high notes with ease in "Shadow Waltz."

Tight dance routines, talented dancers and singers combined for a finished product that completely deserved the standing ovation that it received.

Nicole Re, Anderson High School

The "Shadow Waltz" was creative, with the ensemble lining the edge of the stage, shifting heads back and forth in time to show a feeling of sleepiness. The "42nd Street" number, with colorful lights and costumes, and the entire cast singing, roared throughout the auditorium.

Melissa Chinn, Highlands High School

Becky Freking, as the director of the fictional show, performed the role with such ferocity and passion that she left the audience captivated every time she walked onstage.

Neil Heyman, Sycamore High School

Adam Jones, who played Billy Lawlor, had a wonderful tenor voice that captured the audience. Also, Becky Freking had amazing energy throughout the entire show.

Meagan Blasch, McAuley High School

Becky Freking was at center stage as Julia, tackling a tough role. She was instantly recognizable as the demanding director, but still displayed moments of human vulnerability. While the tap gave "42nd Street" its rhythm, she was its heart.

Dara Lind, Sycamore High School

As producer Maggie Jones, Claire Enouen displayed an excellent singing voice and a great presence. She had the refined feeling of an upper-class citizen of the 1930s, but also had a swagger that gave her character a sense of fun and jazziness.

Seth Herzog, Highlands High School

The Greater Cincinnati chapter of Cappies, or Critics and Awards Program, is in its third season, with students writing reviews of other high schools' productions. Today, Ursuline Academy's 42nd Street. For more information, see www.cappies.com




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