PBS’s ‘Great Performances’ Celebrates ’42nd Street’


Come and meet those dancing feet. From the moment the curtain rises on a clattering cacophony of chorus boys and girls in a tap-dancing frenzy, 42nd Street whisks the audience into an extravagant fantasy of song and choreography.

It’s a happily cornball musical-comedy world where a dashingly brash director (Tom Lister, above left) can tell his perky ingenue (Clare Halse), “You’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!”

Though 42nd Street kicks off a monthlong “Broadway’s Best” series on Great Performances, this recent revival is from London’s West End, where most of the other shows were recorded.

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Also on the roster: The King and I (November 8), featuring Tony-winning performances by Kelli O’Hara (opposite Ken Watanabe) and Ruthie Ann Miles; the drama Red (November 15), starring Alfred Molina as painter Mark Rothko; Kinky Boots (November 29), showcasing Matt Henry’s Olivier Award–winning star turn as Lola; and from New York’s Shakespeare in the Park, Much Ado About Nothing (November 22), with Orange Is the New Black‘sDanielle Brooks.

Great Performances: 42nd Street, 9/8c, PBS(check local listings at pbs.org)