When revered Broadway director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) falls on hard times in both his health and his finances, he helms an ambitious musical as a final production before his retirement. His lead actress, Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels), is torn between two loves—the show's wealthy backer, Abner Dillon (Guy Kibbee), and the earnest but penniless actor Pat Denning (George Brent)—while aspiring young performer Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) waits in the wings, hoping for her big break. Magnificent dance numbers choreographed by Busby Berkeley highlight this iconic backstage drama which changed the movie musical forever and helped save the failing Warner Bros. studio. A pre-code film packed to the gills with casting couch innuendo and the starry-eyed hopes and dreams of young up-and-comers, 42nd STREET’s “show within a show” format illustrates that issues of sexual manipulation, harassment, and abuse have permeated all aspects of the showbiz culture since its inception.
Sat-Sun, Nov 25-26 (2017)