Q&A: Lucas McMahon and Jeremy Shpizner

Jacqueline Andriakos

From depression to recession, the cast and crew of the 2012 Dolphin Show has quite appropriately resurrected the musical hype of the 1930’s Broadway hit, “42nd Street.” Despite the cast and crews’ already hectic rehearsal schedule, co-producers Jeremy Shpizner and Lucas McMahon were able to sit down with The Current and give an insider’s perspective of the journey to the main stage.

The Current: Could you provide a brief summary of this year’s show?

Lucas McMahon: “42nd Street” is based on a 1933 movie directed by Lloyd Bacon with famous choreography by Busby Berkeley. It is about a young girl who auditions to be in the chorus of a large Broadway musical that’s being staged during the Great Depression. She goes out for the lead and ends up becoming a star. It’s really about the magic and the excitement of musical theater and what that can bring to the world during a time when there wasn’t much else to bring that happiness.

The Current: Now that rehearsals have begun, how is that process going so far?

Jeremy Shpizner: So far, they have staged almost all of Act 1. Essentially right after the cast is chosen, we immediately go into rehearsing the show, no time off. It goes on stage in January so we really have to work hard during the end of Fall Quarter through the beginning of Winter Quarter to get the production on stage and up and running smoothly. By the end of Fall Quarter it should be completely staged.

The Current: How do you come to a final decision for the year’s production?

LM: Last spring we sat and brainstormed for hours about feasible musicals and we ended with a list of about 100. We then narrowed it down to three, considering the factors we knew we wanted to see like the dancing element and pitched those three to the board of Arts Alliance, finally landing on 42nd Street.

JS: We have a very musically lively campus and that was a big part of us choosing this show. We really wanted to celebrate those aspects, the music and the life we have here.

The Current: What makes “42nd Street” unique from the shows you have done in the past?

LM: One of the most unique things about this show as opposed to other shows is that this is a very dance-driven production and has very spectacular musical numbers that really build the framework of the show design. This has a lot more of the typical big Broadway show-stopping elements that we usually don’t see on this campus.

The Current: Have there been any major triumphs? Setbacks?

LM: Fortunately there have not been any setbacks so far, and it’s fantastic that we can say that honestly. A major triumph for me is our cast. The audition process is long and treacherous for the performers and us, but we are so proud of the people that we got for this cast and crew. We can only hope it continues running so smoothly.

The Current: What are your expectations for the opening in January?

JS: Firstly, we hope to sell out as many shows as we can, so spread the word. On deeper level, theater for us is about story telling. We want to get people into that theater so we can share this one. The scenes have been designed to really convey the messages of the time period and the characters’ personal stories; we want the audience to really feel this.

Tickets for “42nd Street” are on sale now and can be found at nudolphinshow.org. The show opens on Friday, Jan. 20.

– Jacqueline Andriakos