You Won’t Stop Tapping Your Feet Along With the Cast of Mac-Haydn’s 42nd Street

Originally produced in 1980, 42nd Street, the smash Broadway hit, is a play within a play.  The story of chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who lands her first Broadway show after coming from Allentown to  New York City to fulfill her dreams. When the show’s star falls and breaks her ankle just the day before opening night, Sawyer is pushed to the front to take over the role. Mega-producer Julian Marsh is faced with the option of giving this no-name untried talent a chance or closing the show before the curtain goes up. This all happens against the backdrop of the Great Depression.

While not facing the same obstacles as Julian Marsh, Mac-Haydn Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director John Saunders has taken on the directorial reigns of this behemoth of a production as the season opener. 50+ years into their storied history, The Mac has long since learned how to get it right. 42nd Street is a testament to that. 

The Mac is a theatre company that has taken the adage of getting better with age and adopted it as its mantra. Each season, productions get better and better, more and more talent floods the small stage, and they prove over and over how this company that began life in a barn on the Chatham Fairgrounds has grown into a company of professionals that has a well-earned a reputation as one of the finest summer stock troupes in the Northeast.  

The plot of 42nd Street is pretty much anecdotal to the music and dancing. Long considered one of the best shows for big splashy tap dance production numbers, choreographer Mandy Modic does not disappoint. She moves her large cast of 25 through their passes on what should be an impossibly small stage (always a source of amazement at this theatre) with the ease and stunning synchronicity of any Broadway production. Supported by the wonderful talent of Music Director Eric Shorey, the performers sing and dance with grace and fluidity. 

The cast led by Rachel Revellese as Peggy and Jonah Hale as Billy Lawlor, the show’s romantic lead, whose dancing is awe-inspiring matched only by their singing voices, they lead the company through some incredible maneuvers culminating in the show’s climatic finale of the title song.

Madison Stratton returns to the Mac stage in the role of Dorothy Brock, the lead singer, with a bit of an entitlement issue. She shines in her overly emoted song, Shadow Waltz, her lighthearted You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me, and the touching duet, About a Quarter to Nine. Whenever she is on the stage, you can not help but watch her draw the audience into her. 

The comedic efforts of the scriptwriting duo Maggie and Bert, Kristen Clark Bielefedt and Jack Koch are great fun to watch. While Bielefedt’s expertise sometimes overshadows Koch, it is certainly a wonderful opportunity for him to learn from. 

And then there’s Gabe Beleyu, Mac-Haydn’s go-to guy to do the job with near perfection. Beleyu has been venturing to the country for years, taking on most leading man roles with aplomb and conviction. From Don Quixote to Julian Marsh, he never fails to succeed. Beleyu commands the stage with his presence and self-assured attitude. His comic timing is spot on, and his rich voice fills the theatre. From the show-stopping Lullaby of Broadway to the reprise of 42nd Street Belyeu is certainly the crown jewel of the Mac-Haydn pantheon. 

An amazingly strong, talented, supportive ensemble rounds out this wonderful cast. 

With the support of a solid technical crew: Bethany Marx’s costumes, Andrew Gmoser’s lighting design, and Emily Allen’s hair and makeup work to bring Saunders’ vision to the stage in fine form. As Saunders takes the reigns to open the season, it will hopefully set the tone for a summer of continued great music, dance and theater.

42nd Street runs through July 2. For ticket information: call the box office at 518-392-9292 or

Photo by Ann Kielbasa
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  1. Mac-Haydn Theatre

    […] Bill Kellert says ’42nd Street’ “gets it right” in his review for Nippertown […]

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