42nd Street is a legendary musical. It’s splashy, bright and full of joy! The brand spanking-new production of ‘the original showbiz musical” is in Toronto just in time for the holiday season!
Based on the 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 Hollywood film adaptation, Jonathan Church (Singin’ In The Rain, The Drifters Girl) directs the iconic song-and-dance spectacular featuring a hit parade of toe-tapping songs including “42nd Street,” “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “I Only Have Eyes For You.”
Choreographed and designed by Olivier Award winners Bill Deamer and Rob Jones, 42nd STREET is a timeless and inspiring showbiz fairy tale that combines breathtaking tap dance routines, backstage intrigue, classic romance and delightful comedy.
Fresh off the bus from small-town America, young and beautiful Peggy Sawyer arrives in the big city of New York City dreaming of her name in lights. She quickly catches the eye of a big-time director and lands a spot in the chorus line of Broadway’s newest show… and when the leading lady gets injured with a broken ankle, Peggy steps in and gets her shot at stardom.
Peggy worked hard in a short amount of time to learn all the routines in both song and dance. And you can feel this character’s determination to never give up under any circumstance.
Nicole-Lily Baisden who plays Peggy Sawyer is a breathtaking star. Her character is the new chorus girl who ends up taking over as the star of the show “Pretty Lady”.
Baisden tells us she loves her role of Peggy because of her optimism. “She sees the best in everyone and every situation and never lets anything stop her from doing what she wants to do.”
The actor trained at The Arts Educational Schools (London) and her career on stage is proof that she’s earned a place as lead. Theatre credits include: Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon (West End/UK and international tour) and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes (Barbican Theatre and UK tour). Film and television credits include: Anything Goes – Live from the Barbican (Trafalgar Relasing) and Crackerjack (BBC). Other work includes: Paige in Pump Up the Volume (MT Fest) and ensemble in Let’s Face The Music (Royal Albert Hall).
42nd Street’s choreography never misses a beat…
“Choreographer Bill Deamer really wanted to bring a freshness to the iconic numbers in the show,” said Baisden. “It’s athletic, it’s fast, it’s intricate. Tap dancing has always been my favourite discipline and to be challenged so much with such fabulous choreography has been joyous.”
And, like her character, she does it all with a smile and without breaking a sweat. “My favourite number is Plenty of Money which is Peggy dancing with the male ensemble. There are a lot of fun lifts, fast tap and a few surprises,” said Baisden.
This musical has a rich history, what makes this a timeless one? She tells us the story of people struggling for money and being desperate for the next job is something that is so relatable now. “Our director Jonathan Church didn’t want to shy away from the harsh realities of what goes on behind the curtain in a show. It gives the audience a real insight into putting together a huge musical. There are also so many iconic songs that even if you don’t know the story you would’ve heard at least one of the songs.”
With so much going in the world now, it seems like we need a hopeful break from our everyday. It’s that cheeriness we didn’t know we needed. As an actor in this production she understands that feeling. “It’s really joyful. Being surrounded by a huge orchestra, glittery costumes and set and such a strong cast really does lift your spirits. It’s definitely a feel good musical and you will leave with a smile on your face!”
It’s a grand musical that is familiar to many!
But is there anything different in this particular production we can look out for? She tells us the set is definitely one of her favourite parts of the show. “It transitions so seamlessly between backstage at the theatre to sparkling production sets. It really is amazing.”
And what’s her favourite song or line from the show? She tells us her favourite song is “We’re in the Money”. Her favourite line is “Sawyer, you’re going out there a youngster. But you’ve got to come back a star!”
42nd STREET is a larger-than-life, entertaining celebration of musicals and the irrepressible spirit of Broadway that will lift anyone’s spirits. Now on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto until January 21, 2024.
For tickets and additional information, link to Mirvish’s site here.