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Tap to the Beat of '42nd Street'

Northwestern’s 70th Annual Dolphin Show performed at Cahn Jan. 20 to 28

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Nearly 150 Northwestern University students will be involved in the 70th annual Dolphin Show production when they present and perform “42nd Street,” a Tony Award-winning musical featuring iconic songs and show-stopping dance routines. The Dolphin Show is one of the largest student-produced musicals in the country.

Open to the public, the 2012 production’s five ticketed performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22; 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the University’s Evanston campus.

The Dolphin Show has helped launch the careers of Northwestern alumni, including Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick (“Fiddler on the Roof,” “Fiorello!”), actor David Schwimmer (TV’s “Friends”), former Miss America Kate Shindle, actress Inga Swenson (Broadway's “110 in the Shade” and TV's “Benson”), actor Richard Kind (TV’s “Spin City”), Broadway director Jason Moore (Tony Award nominee for directing “Avenue Q”) and actress Jeri Ryan (TV’s “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Body of Proof”).

The executive co-producers of the 70th anniversary show are Northwestern School of Communication senior Lucas McMahon and junior Jeremy Shpizner. Of the nearly 150 students involved with this year’s production, 36 appear on stage, including a chorus line of 28 dancers. 

“What the Dolphin Show boasts every year is completely new and exciting productions of classic musical favorites,” said McMahon. “We choose one musical every year to bring to life for the Northwestern, Evanston and Chicago area communities. This year, we proudly present the quintessential backstage musical “42nd Street.” 

“42nd Street” follows a young actress headed for stardom during the Great Depression as she sings and dances her way into the spotlight and the hearts of adoring fans. The show’s score is by Hollywood legends Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Among the musical’s most popular hit songs are “Forty-Second Street,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “We’re in the Money” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”

Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble’s hit musical is based on Bradford Ropes’ novel. The original stage version was produced by David Merrick and directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. It premiered on Broadway in August 1980 and became the longest running American musical of that decade. Merrick’s stage version was a follow-up to the 1933 Warner Brothers film of the same title, featuring Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers and Dick Powell and choreography by the legendary Busby Berkeley. 

The script of Northwestern’s version of “42nd Street” is the same show that was presented on Broadway by Merrick in 1980. “Our show is a completely new production with new direction and choreography by School of Communication senior Emily Maltby and exciting original designs by Northwestern undergraduate students,” said McMahon. Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music senior Patrick Sulken is the music director. 

The Dolphin Show evolved from a 1940s swim team fundraiser to an annual (and non-aquatic) professional-caliber musical production. It celebrates the talents of Northwestern undergraduate students and provides opportunities for them to learn and excel in all fields of non-profit theatre. 

Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Northwestern faculty or staff and seniors aged 65 and older; and $10 for students and children. Group rates also are available.

Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (847) 467-4000, by 24-hour fax at (847) 467-1831, or in person at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall Ticket Office at 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. All ticket or group sale inquiries should be emailed to

For more on the Dolphin Show visit or go to or the Dolphin Show blog at

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