Experiential Review — 42nd Street Musical at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center Byers Theatre

On Sunday, September 16th at 2:00pm I had the privilege to watch the opening weekend act of 42nd Street the Musical. This Tony-Award Winning musical contained vibrancy, comical relief, and a whole lot of dancing feet. By the end of the show, I can say for the very least that I have never wanted to sign up for tap dancing lessons so quickly due to the exquisite talent on that stage.

So, before diving into the content of the musical, I do want to give some appreciation to the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center Byers Theatre. The grand opening of this venue happened in early August of this year which explains the extremely neat, contemporary design. As I entered the facility, the first thing I noticed was the wall to ceiling clear-glass windows. Although it was a cloudy day when I visited, this modernistic feature made the lobby feel more open and friendly, and I still had an invitation to enjoy the scenery of the fountains. I can’t imagine how radiant it would feel on a clear, sunny day. Another feature I liked was the city bar. It was chic and sold concessions at a very reasonable price; I ordered a beverage and a tray of snacks for a total of $5.00! I definitely plan to visit this location again soon.

The actual theatre was the most impressive part out of the whole Arts Center. I arrived there early to prevent the awkward “excuse me’s” when weaving through people in the entire row since my assigned seat was smack dab in the middle. I was greeted sweetly by an usher at the door and was immediately handed a pamphlet about the musical production as well as other interesting facts about the city center since the entire area itself is still fairly new. I took a quick look around and was impressed with the vivid color scheme and how well they complemented one another, however, as a musical theatre attendee veteran, my main concern was not visual display, but the sight lines since they are a very important aspect to a theatre room. I’m sure many have experienced thinking they had the perfect seat but suddenly someone slightly taller sat in front of them and now they have to spend most of the show craning their neck left and right. (Mind you I’m 5’2″, so that includes a good lot of people for me). Yet with this theatre, I did not have to worry about seating at all. It was exactly proportioned in alignment that if even the tallest person in the room sat in front of me,  I was still able to see the entire production.

Within the pamphlet it stated, “the theatre features excellent sight lines, with seating for 1,070 on three levels including box seats. Superb acoustics, a full orchestra pit, and fly loft make the theatre an ideal venue for a variety of performance events.”

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The pamphlet of 42nd Street presented in front of the backdrop view of the stage; edited with VSCO HB1 Preset

42nd Street followed the story of an ambitious young girl name Peggy Swayer who comes from a small town in Pennslyvania and moves to New York to chase her dreams of performing on Broadway. In her short time in the new city, she finally finds her place in showbiz as a dancer in the production, Pretty Girl, but she goes through a series trials and endeavors against the star lead of the show, Dorothy Brock and the show producer, Julian Marsh. Does this small town girl have what it takes to survive in the Big Appl

I absolutely fell in love with this show and would see it again in a  heartbeat. My favorite experiences in the theatre are not only seeing a production but going into it blindly without any previous information until I read the pamphlet’s overview a few moments before the curtains open to give it my genuine judgment. The overture of the musical opened brightly with powerful dancing. I came to quickly realize that the show will definitely be like one I have never seen before and proved exactly that.  It not only delivered the element of great song scores and excellent acting with many occurrences of breaking the fourth wall but provided another source of entertainment that is unique: tap dancing. During the entire production, I was intrigued all the way to the last number, “42nd Street”. If the audience listened to that song’s lyrics carefully, it nicely wrapped up what the performance was trying to convey to us: how we should all embrace our inner “Peggy Swayer” regardless of it involving showbiz as it can be applied to all aspects in life.

“Come and meet those dancing feet, on the avenue I’m taking you to, Forty-Second Street.
Hear the beat of dancing feet, it’s the song I love the melody of, Forty-Second Street.” 

Overall, I would recommend this musical to any person who enjoys an energetic environment filled with amazing sing-a-longs, outstanding dance sequences, and great actor-to-audience dynamic. If musicals are not your ideal interest, I would definitely still recommend this venue to enjoy the other multiple events they host throughout the year. Its just too bad this place isn’t located exactly on 42nd street.

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