Mike Woody Interviews Gerianne Genga, who will play Maggie Jones in the broadway musical comedy "42nd Street" at the Schuster in January.
Throughout her accomplished career as an actress and choreographer, Gerianne Genga has spent a lot of time behind the curtain. Her experiences make her a perfect fit for the hit musical 42nd Street, which tells the backstage story of a Broadway musical and all the hijinks and drama that goes into it. Hailed as a “song & dance extravaganza” specializing in tap, 42nd Street will be at the Schuster Center on January 10-15.
For Genga a major blessing from being part of 42nd Street is the opportunity to see the impressive skills of her cast mates. “The dancing is phenomenal. Everyone is very, very talented. Plus with the colorful costumes and great lighting, it’s a real spectacle,” she said.
An American Dream story, based on a novel by Bradford Ropes, 42nd Street follows Peggy Sawyer from Allentown to New York for an audition for a Broadway musical called ‘Pretty Lady.’ When the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy is moved into the spotlight and is forced to face the pros and cons of being a star. Genga plays Maggie Jones, the co-writer and producer of ‘Pretty Lady.’
In addition to physical injuries, several problems arise that makes the staging of ‘Pretty Lady,’ a challenge, and Maggie must lead the charge in overcoming them all. Somewhere from within her diminutive frame, Genga finds the authoritive strength needed for the role. “Maggie is a firecracker. She is a ball of energy, who is the driving force behind getting the show ready,” said Genga.
Though Maggie is usually played by a bigger woman, with a deep voice, the director chose to go a different direction with the character by casting Genga. “I am more petite with a higher pitched, Minnie Mouse type of voice and I’m more quite at home. Maggie and I are alike though in that we both enjoy silly jokes though,” she said.
A time in her own life that Genga is forced to be outspoken, is when she serves as a choreographer. A dancer for most of her life, Genga has served as choreographer for several events, including the halftime performance by N-SYNC at Giants Stadium for the World Soccer Championship.
To be a dancer is in the bloodline of Genga’s family, as her mother danced and her daughter is currently on tour with another show. It’s a life that Genga loves and would not trade for anything, though she did take some time off to raise her children. As soon as they entered college, Genga returned to the stage.
From the costumes, set designs, and a collection of classic songs including; “We’re in the Money,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” and “42nd Street” there is something for everyone to enjoy about the show. It also provides the full access glimpse into the inner workings of a musical. “It shows the work of rehearsals and how a newcomer shows up looking to break in, which really happens. Also how the writer tries to get along with the director. I don’t think things have changed a whole lot over time,” said Genga.
The path towards of an evening of great entertainment begins at 42nd Street which is at the Schuster Center, January 10-15.