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Musicals starting with numbers

42nd Street

42nd Street features a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and music by Harry Warren. Originally opening on Broadway with direction and choreography by award-winning Gower Champion, 42nd Street quickly became one of the most popular musicals and one of Broadway’s longest running shows. Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 film adaptation, the musical follows famous director Julian Marsh as he attempts to produce a successful stage production during the height of the Great Depression in 1930’s New York. A popular musical for amateur and rep companies all over the world, 42nd is set to open once more at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London.


Harry Warren

Al Dubin

Mark Bramble, Michael Stewart

Bradford Rope's novel and Lloyd Bacon's 1933 film

Rian James, James Seymour, Whitney Bolton

David Merrick

Gower Champion

Gower Champion

42nd Street Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

Winter Garden Theatre, Majestic Theatre - Opened 25 Aug 1980, closed 8 Jan 1989, 3486 performances

Cast: Jerry Orbach (Julian Marsh), Tammy Grimes (Dorothy Brock), Wanda Richert (Peggy Sawyer), Lee Roy Reams (Billy Lawlor) Replacements: Barry Nelson, Don Chastain, Jamie Ross (Julian Marsh) Elizabeth Allen, Dolores Gray, Millicent Martin (Dorothy Brock), Lisa Brown, Karen Ziemba (Peggy Sawyer)

42nd Street Original London

Original London Production

Theatre Royal Drury Lane - Opened 8 Aug 1984, closed 7 Jan 1989

Cast: James Laurenson (Julian Marsh), Georgia Brown (Dorothy Brock), Clare Leach (Peggy Sawyer), Maurice Lane (Andy Lee), Art Day (Oscar), Brent Verdon (Mac), Carol Ball (Annie), Margaret Courtenay (Maggie Jones), Hugh Futcher (Bert Barry), Michael Howe (Billy Lawlor), Felicity Lee (Lorraine), Catherine Terry (Phyllis), Ralph Lawton (Abner Dillon), Bob Sessions (Pat Denning)

42nd Street Broadway Revival

Broadway Revival

Foxwoods Theatre - Opened 2 May 2001, closed 2 Jan 2005, 1524 performances

Cast: Michael Cumpsty (Julian Marsh), Christine Ebersole (Dorothy Brock), Kate Levering (Peggy Sawyer), David Elder (Billy Lawlor) Replacements: Meredith Patterson (Peggy Sawyer), Todd Lattimore (Billy Lawlor), Patrick Cassidy, Tom Wopat (Julian Marsh), Shirley Jones, Beth Leavel (Dorothy Brock)


UK Tour (2007)

UK Tour - Opened 26 Feb 2007, closed 24 Nov 2007

Cast: Paul Nicholas (Julian Marsh), Julia J. Nagle (Dorothy Brock), Jessica Punch (Peggy Sawyer), Ashley Nottingham (Billy Lawlor), Annie (Rebecca Marks), Maggie (Shirley Jameson), Graeme Anderson (Andy Lee), Graham Hoadly (Bert Barry), David Birch (Mac), Danielle Corlass (Lorraine)


UK Tour (2012)

UK Tour - Opened 1 Jun 2012, closed 1 Dec 2012

Cast: Dave Willetts (Julian Marsh), Marti Webb (Dorothy Brock), Jessica Punch (Peggy Sawyer), James O’Connell (Billy Lawlor), Bruce Montague (Abner Dillon), Carol Ball (Maggie Jones), Graeme Henderson (Andy Lee)


US Tour (2015)

US Tour - Opened 22 Sep 2015, closed 24 Jul 2016

Cast: Matthew J. Taylor (Julian Marsh), Kaitlin Lawrence (Dorothy Brock), Caitlin Ehlinger (Peggy Sawyer), Blake Stadnik (Billy Lawlor), Britte Steele (Maggie), Steven Bidwell (Bert Barry), Mark Fishbank (Abner Dillon), DJ Canaday (Pat Denning), Natalia Lepore Hagan (Annie), Lamont Brown (Andy Lee), Vanessa Mitchell (Lorraine), Mallory Nolting (Phyllis)

42nd Street

London Revival

Theatre Royal Drury Lane - Opened 20 Mar 2017, closed 22 Jul 2017

Cast: Cast yet to be announced.

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


Twitter Synopsis:

A chorus girl from out of town steps in to save the day when the star breaks her leg, becoming an overnight Broadway sensation!

Add your own Twitter style synopsis (140 characters only!) in the comments box

Set at the height of 1933’s Great Depression, auditions are underway for a brand new Broadway show. Fresh off the bus from Allentown, Peggy Sawyer has arrived in New York with the hopes of making it big in New York and is noticed immediately by Billy Lawlor, who hopes to charm her into going on a date with him. Although Peggy misses the audition, Billy tells her that he can help, despite the choreographer Andy Lee having no time for another chorus girl. Peggy is embarrassed and runs off, straight into the director Julian Marsh, followed by fading star Dorothy Brock, is disgusted at being made to audition for a role. A prima donna and ultimate diva, Dorothy brings with her a lot of drama, but Julian decides to cast her in order to secure significant financial backing from her wealthy partner Abner.

Taking pity on poor Peggy, the chorus girls decide to take her to lunch. When they ask her to show them a dance routine, Julian spots her and instantly falls for her, deciding that there simply must be room for another dancer in the chorus. Later at a party, Julian discovers that Dorothy is cheating on Abner with an old flame and is worried about the future of the show. He decides to break up their relationship, hiring some thugs to threaten Dorothy’s old boyfriend.

Soon, the entire cast head to Philadelphia for an out-of-town tryout, but on opening night Peggy falls into Dorothy and knocks her over, breaking her ankle. Peggy is fired on the spot and forced to leave. Julian’s show’s fate hangs in the balance as Dorothy is unable to perform the production. The chorus girls are more than convinced that Peggy would be able to fill the part and convince Julian to bring her back. Rushing to the train station to fetch her, Julian realises that Peggy wants to leave town and showbiz and just go home. Instead, Julian persuades her to stay with “Lullaby of Broadway”.

Peggy begins to learn the role quickly and Dorothy even starts to offer some advice, being friendly towards her. On opening night, Peggy transforms from lowly chorus girl to instant Broadway sensation, changing her life forever. Choosing to attend the Chorus girls’ party instead of staying with Julian, 42nd Street ends with a rousing rendition of the title number.


Act I

  • “Overture” – Orchestra
  • “Audition” – Dancers
  • “Young and Healthy” – Billy and Peggy
  • “Shadow Waltz” – Dorothy, Maggie and Girls
  • “Shadow Waltz (Reprise)” – Dorothy
  • “Go Into Your Dance” – Peggy, Maggie, Annie, Phyllis, Lorraine, Gladys and Andy
  • “You’re Gettin’ to be a Habit with Me” – Dorothy
  • “Getting Out of Town” – Maggie, Bert, Pat and Chorus
  • “Dames” – Billy and Chorus
  • “Keep Young and Beautiful/Dames Reprise” – Maggie, Bert and Chorus
  • “I Only Have Eyes for You” – Dorothy and Billy
  • “I Know Now” – Dorothy, Billy and Chorus
  • “We’re in the Money” – Peggy, Billy, Annie, Phyllis, Lorraine, Gladys and Chorus
  • “Act One Finale” – Dorothy

Act II

  • “Entr’acte” – Orchestra
  • “There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation” – Annie and Chorus
  • “Lullaby of Broadway” – Julian and Chorus
  • “About a Quarter to Nine” – Dorothy and Peggy
  • “With Plenty of Money and You” – Boys
  • “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” – Maggie, Annie, Bert and Girls
  • “42nd Street” – Peggy and Chorus
  • “42nd Street (Reprise)” – Julian
  • “Finale Ultimo” – Company

1981 Tony Awards: Best Choreography (Gower Champion), Best Musical

1981 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Choreography (Gower Champion), Outstanding Costume Design (Theoni V. Aldredge)

1984 Olivier Awards: Best New Musical

1984 Evening Standard Awards: Best Musical

2001 Tony Awards: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Christine Ebersole)

2001 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Revival of a Musical


UK: Music Scope UK

USA: Tams-Witmark



9 to 5 the Musical

9 to 5: The Musical features music and lyrics by country music legend Dolly Parton. Based on the film ‘9 to 5’, the musical is adapted by Patricia Resnick, who also penned the screenplay. Parton starred in the 1980 movie and was at the helm of bringing the show to the stage, combining new material along with songs that she had previously written. Despite a fantastic cast, 9 to 5: The Musical ran for an exceptionally limited time on Broadway, closing before it reached 150 performances. A successful tour was launched in the UK in 2012, starring Ben Richards and Jackie Clune, with the production setting it sights on the West End.


Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Patricia Resnick

Colin Higgins' 1980 film

Colin Higgins, Patricia Resnick

Center Theatre Group

Joe Mantello

Andy Blankenbuehler

9 to 5 Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

Marquis Theatre - Opened 30 Apr 2009, closed 6 Sep 2009, 148 performances

Cast: Allison Janney (Violet Newstead), Stephanie J. Block (Judy Bernly), Megan Hilty (Doralee Rhodes), Marc Kudisch (Franklin Hart Jr), Kathy Fitzgerald (Roz Keith), Andy Karl (Joe)

9 to 5 UK Tour 2012

US Tour (2010)

US Tour - Opened 21 Sep 2010, closed 31 Jul 2011

Cast: Dee Hoty (Violet Newstead), Mamie Parris (Judy Bernly), Diana DeGarmo (Doralee Rhodes), Joseph Mahowald (Franklin Hart Jr), Kristine Zbornik (Roz Keith), Gregg Goodbrod (Joe)


UK Tour (2013)

UK Tour - Opened 9 Jan 2013, closed 27 Jul 2013

Cast: Ben Richards (Franklyn Hart), Jackie Clune (Violet Newstead), Natalie Casey (Judy Bernly), Amy Lennox (Doralee Rhodes), Bonnie Langford (Roz Keith), Mark Willshire (Joe) Replacements: Mark Moraghan (Franklyn), Anita Louise Combe (Roz)

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


Twitter Synopsis:

Three office women conspire together to get rid of their misogynistic boss to create a more female-friendly office environment for all.

Add your own Twitter style synopsis (140 characters only!) in the comments box

9 to 5: the Musical  opens with various alarm clocks signalling the start of another working day, and we are introduced to Violet, Doralee and Judy in their various habitats. Another hellish day at Consolidated Industries begins under the hand of Franklin Hart Jr, whilst Judy starts her first day at work. Violet who promises to train her and show her how best to survive in the office. Franklin Hart Jr is hated by everyone in the office, especially Doralee, his secretary who he lusts over, much to her discomfort. Judy has a series of work-related issues on her first day and the three women bemoan their lives and personal issues. The next day Judy meets Doralee but Judy is scared of going to lunch with her. Meanwhile, Violet gets overlooked for another promotion and Doralee finds out that Hart has told people they are having an affair.

The three women unite in their hatred of Hart and fantasise about ways of killing their boss, but realise that he is very much alive when they have to go back to work. Racked with guilt, Violet believes she has accidentally poisoned Mr Hart with rat poison in his coffee, and go to the hospital to find him. Roz, who has feelings for their boss, overhears their worries and tells Hart, who goes along with the plan by pretending he was poisoned to scare the girls. He confronts Doralee, who panics and ties him to his chair using telephone wires. Later, the women make a plan to trap Hart in his own home, restraining him with a mechanical harness above his bed.

As the second act opens, the women are wondering how they can keep everyone in the dark about Hart’s disappearance. Doralee is able to forge his signature, so the girls start to run the company. Violet enjoys the new sense of power and finally feels like she is in the right position. But Roz soon begins to sniff around and the only way to get rid of her is to send her away to France on a conference. Hart continues to be strung up in his bedroom and still continues to assert his authority. In the office, the staff are thankful for the changes that the girls have made. Joe approaches Violet and asks her on a date, but she shrugs him off saying the death of her husband has made her unsure about getting back on the dating wagon. Joe convinces her to move on and she agrees to date him. Meanwhile, Judy’s ex husband Dick arrives and begs her to take him back, but she refuses him, telling him to get out and stay out.

Hart manages to escape, holding Judy hostage in the process. He credits himself with the positive changes in the office when the CEO arrives, and although the girls speak out, they are instantly shot down. Hart is then sent to deal with operations in Bolivia and Violet is promoted to his position.


Act I

  • “9 to 5″ — Violet, Doralee, Dwayne, Judy and Ensemble
  • “Around Here” — Violet and Ensemble
  • “Here for You” — Franklin Hart, Jr.
  • “I Just Might” — Judy, Doralee and Violet
  • “Backwoods Barbie” — Doralee
  • “The Dance of Death” — Judy, Hart and Ensemble
  • “Cowgirl’s Revenge” — Doralee, Hart and Ensemble
  • “Potion Notion” — Violet, Hart and Ensemble
  • “Joy to the Girls”  — Judy, Doralee, Violet, Hart and Ensemble
  • “Heart to Hart” — Roz and Ensemble
  • “Shine Like the Sun” — Doralee, Judy, Violet
Act II 
  • “Entr’acte” — Orchestra
  • “One of the Boys” — Violet and Boys
  • “5 to 9″ — Roz
  • “Always a Woman” — Hart and Men’s Ensemble
  • “Change It”  — Doralee, Violet, Judy and Ensemble
  • “Let Love Grow”— Joe, Violet
  • “Get Out and Stay Out”— Judy
  • “Finale: 9 to 5″ — Company

2009 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Allison Janney)


UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: Musical Theatre International



The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical that features music and lyrics by William Finn and an award-winning book by Rachel Sheinkin. A one act comedy that centres on an American spelling bee competition, the show is set in a fictional High School. The contest itself is attended by a number of quirky high school students, played by adults, and is managed by some larger than life adult personalities. Originally opening on Broadway in 2005, the musical was directed by James Lapine and was hugely successful, winning both Tony and Drama Desk Awards. A set section of the show is improvised each night, allowing for audience participation, whereby four audience members are invited on stage to take part in the spelling bee and are eliminated throughout the piece. A London production opened at the Donmar Warehouse directed by Jamie Lloyd in 2011, and remains a popular choice for amateur and regional theatres across the country.


William Finn

William Finn

Rachel Sheinkin, Jay Reiss

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman

David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company and Second Stage Theatre

James Lapine (US), Jamie Lloyd (UK)

Dan Knechtges

Spelling Bee Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

Circle in the Square - Opened 2 May 2005, closed 20 Jan 2008, 1136 performances

Cast: Lisa Howard (Rona Lisa Peretti), Jay Reiss (Douglas Panch), Derrick Baskin (Mitch Mahoney), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Olive Ostrovsky), Dan Fogler (William Barfee), Sarah Saltzberg (Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre), Deborah S. Craig (Marcy Park), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Leaf Coneybear), Jose Llana (Chip Tolentino)

Spelling Bee Donmar

Original London Production

Donmar Warehouse - Opened 21 Feb 2011, closed 2 Apr 2011

Cast: Katherine Kingsley (Rona Lisa Peretti), Steve Pemberton (Douglas Panch), Ako Mitchell (Mitch Mahoney), Hayley Gallivan (Olive Ostrovsky), David Fynn (William Barfee), Iris Roberts (Logainne SchwartzandGrubenierre), Maria Lawson (Marcy Park), Chris Carswell (Leaf Coneybear), Harry Hepple (Chip Tolentino)

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


Twitter Synopsis:

A group of competitive spellers enter a contest to prove who can tick off the most words and take away the shiny trophy!

Add your own Twitter style synopsis (140 characters only!) in the comments box

The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee begins with a flashback from spelling bee judge Rona Peretti, who enters the gymnasium and hears herself winning the third annual bee all those years ago. This years spellers are revealed and they are each introduced to the audience. As the guests take their seats, Rona introduces Douglas Panch as the official word reader, along with comfort counsellor Mitch Mahoney, who is serving his community service. They all take the pledge of allegiance and Panch gives the rules of the contest. Each of the spellers begin and we start to learn about their characters through flashbacks. Olive is the first up and is very shy. She tells about “My Friend the Dictionary”, who she has come to know thanks to her mother always being away from home.

Next up is Leaf Coneybear, who only came in third in his regional competition but became a finalist later by default. In the previous rounds he spelled words thanks to an unknown trance. William Barfee uses his foot to spell the words visually before saying anything. One of the audience members gets given a simple word, resulting in “Pandemonium” as the contestants discuss the luck of the draw. Leaf is called up again, and falls into a trance, not before he admits that “I’m Not That Smart” and ends up getting through. Barfee sings about his technique and his “Magic Foot”.

Last year’s winner Chip Tolentino is fantasising about Leaf’s sister in the audience and is reluctant to take the stand because his erection is showing. He spells the word wrong and is eliminated. As the spellers take a break, Chip reappears selling snacks to the audience, “My Unfortunate Erection” the reason he blames for losing out. Barfee begins to develop a crush on Olive. Logainne is introduced and she tells of her two overbearing gay dads who pressure her to succeed. Marcy is called up and she tells the audience that “I Speak Six Languages”. She intentionally misspells her word.

Olive is next up and is upset to see that her parent’s haven’t been able to make it to see her. The others are gradually eliminated as it gets down to the final two people. Olive and Barfee continue to flirt and Olive misspells her word intentionally, and Barfee takes the trophy. Each character re-enters and tells their epilogue.

  • “The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – Company
  • “The Spelling Rules” – Panch and Spellers
  • ”My Favorite Moment of the Bee” – Rona
  • “My Friend, the Dictionary” – Olive and Company
  • “The First Goodbye” – Company
  • “Pandemonium” – Panch, Chip, Mitch and Spellers
  • “I’m Not That Smart” – Leaf
  • “The Second Goodbye” – Company
  • “Magic Foot” – Barfée and Company
  • “Pandemonium (Reprise)” – Mitch, Chip and Company
  • ”My Favorite Moment of the Bee (Reprise)” – Rona
  • “Prayer of the Comfort Counselor” – Mitch and Company
  • “My Unfortunate Erection/Distraction (Chip’s Lament)” – Chip
  • “Woe is Me” – Logainne, Carl, Dan and Company
  • “I’m Not That Smart (Reprise)” – Leaf
  • “I Speak Six Languages” – Marcy and Company
  • “Jesus” – Marcy, Jesus and Company
  • “The I Love You Song” – Olive and Olive’s Parents
  • “Woe is Me (Reprise)” – Logainne, Mitch and Company
  • “My Favorite Moment of the Bee (Reprise 2)” – Rona
  • ”Second” – Rona, Barfée, Olive and Company
  • “Finale” – Company
  • “The Last Goodbye” – Company

2005 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin), Outstanding Ensemble Performance, Outstanding Director of a Musical (James Lapine)

2005 Tony Awards: Best Book of a Musical (Rachel Sheinkin), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Dan Fogler)


UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: Musical Theatre International