Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville has opened 2018 with “42nd Street,” a classic musical theater hit.
Artistic directors Louis Palena and Jordan Brennan are re-creating the show’s iconic choreography by Gower Champion, and Doylestown residents Anna Hentz and Jaimie Geddes portray the show’s memorable leading ladies.
“42nd Street” tells the story of Peggy Sawyer, a talented young performer with stars in her eyes. Broadway director Julian Marsh gives her a spot in the chorus of “Pretty Lady,” ‘which stars Dorothy Brock, a legendary diva of the Broadway stage. Brock gets injured and has to leave the show, and Peggy’s rise from showgirl to star is the stuff of show business dreams.
“42nd Street” is full of crowd-pleasing tap dances, popular musical theater standards, and show-stopping ensemble production numbers.
This production features a few of Music Mountain Theatre’s favorite actors. Co-Artistic director Louis Palena stars as Billy Lawlor, the leading man of “Pretty Lady,” the play within the play. Palena reunites with Anna Hentz as Dorothy Brock; the two actors played these roles together over 15 years ago at the Bucks County Playhouse!
Also starring as Peggy Sawyer, the chorus girl who rises to fame, is Jaimie Geddes, who has often appeared on stage with both Palena and Hentz. Local audiences may remember Palena and Geddes co-starring in “Young Frankenstein,” “Big,” and “Jekyll and Hyde” at the Washington Crossing Open Air Theatre. Geddes, a dance teacher at Dance Arts Conservatory in Huntingdon Valley, hopes that her portrayal of Peggy Sawyer inspires dancers to be seen as more than just ensemble players.
Geddes and Hentz appeared on stage together as mother and daughter in “Gypsy” in 2013.
“Sharing the stage with Anna is like getting a master class in acting,” Geddes said. “There’s a moment in the show where a star-struck Peggy says, ‘Imagine, someday dancing on the same stage as Dorothy Brock!’ and it comes from such an honest place for me. I think Anna is one of the most gifted actors and talented vocalists I’ve had the pleasure to learn from.”
Hentz’s journey as Brock is even more special this time around.
“I can relate to Dorothy by having the passion to perform, at any age,” shared Hentz. “Brock’s climax in the second half of the show reveals her true self – a woman with heart. Passing the torch to the younger generation is fulfilling because they realize the impact of an accomplished actor on their life.”
Like Geddes, Hentz wants to impart the importance of following your dreams, no matter how big.
“Dorothy Brock shows me that anything is possible,” she said.
“42nd Street” runs at Music Mountain Theatre through Jan. 21 — Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for students and seniors, and are available online. Music Mountain Theatre is located at 1483 Route 179, just north of Lambertville.