Tappers take stage in Coon Rapids High’s ‘42nd Street’

Coon Rapids High School is staging its most ambitious musical production yet, “42 Street.”

Sophomore Cathan Nelson leads a cast of 49 tappers in a dance number in Coon Rapids High School’s mega musical production of “42nd Street.” Photo by Elyse Kaner

Sophomore Cathan Nelson leads a cast of 49 tappers in a dance number in Coon Rapids High School’s mega musical production of “42nd Street.” Photo by Elyse Kaner

Lavish dance numbers are in store for audience members when 39 Cardinal thespians turned tap dancers take the stage and dance up a storm in this highly entertaining Broadway show with a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble. Lyrics are by Al Dubin and music by Harry Warren.

“Technically, this is by far the biggest show we have ever done,” said director Karla Haij.

The play is based on a novel by Bradford Ropes.

The show’s plot offers a look into producing an extravagant Broadway production at the height of the Great Depression circa 1933. The show centers on Peggy Sawyer, a wide-eyed Broadway newcomer. She is cast in the show “Pretty Lady,” but soon finds herself front and center stage in the leading role when the aging lead, Dorothy Brock, breaks her ankle in dress rehearsal.

To prepare for the show, all 39 members of the cast took tap dancing lessons last summer at Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis. They paid for their lessons in part by bagging groceries at a local supermarket.

“They tapped their feet off in the last 10 months,” Haij said.

Among songs audience members might recognize are “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and “You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me.”

The show teems with big dance numbers, lively music – a Coon Rapids High extravaganza.

Amy Johnson is vocal director, Brian Duffy conducts the pit orchestra, David Donovan is technical director, Jan Redmann is costumer and Patrick Moore is choreographer.

“This show is so exciting,” Haij said. “The kids have an incredible work ethic and it is evident in their performance. This is too big to miss.”

Coon Rapids High School theater department presents the musical “42nd Street,” directed by Karla Haij, April 26, 27, May 3 and May 4, 7 p.m. Matinee May 4, 2 p.m. (ASL performance). Tickets are adults, $8, students/seniors, $5. The school is located at 2340 Northdale Blvd., Coon Rapids. For tickets, visit www.anoka.k12.mn.us/crhstheatre or call 763-506-7302. Tickets are also available at door.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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