The star-to-be among them, Peggy, is endearingly fresh-faced and forthright in the hands of Neeck, and her dancing looks as effortless as elated laughter. As she rises to stardom, she gives us just a suggestion of how it changes her, a slight hint of an evolving seductiveness, though she is still far more at home innocently grinning out her time steps. As her foil, Edissi does poignant work with a role the script takes gratifyingly seriously: The aging Dorothy is not a laughable has-been, but a round and dynamic character whose torch song, the much beloved "I Only Have Eyes for You" Edissi delivers with a subtle strength rich in age and self-awareness.

It makes for a portrait of Broadway that is at once wistful and exuberant, a clear-eyed but tender homage to those who believe the term "musical theater" to be — as Marsh exults — "the most glorious words in the English language."

42ND STREET | music by Harry Warren; lyrics by Al Dubin; book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble | musical direction by Jason Wetzel; choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld; directed by Charles Repole | Produced by the Maine State Music Theatre, Brunswick | through August 25 | 207.725.8769

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