Musical favourite 42nd Street has a hidden social commentary its leading lady Marti Webb reveals to Jade Wright
WEST End leading lady Marti Webb is one of Britain’s most popular musical theatre actresses, but in her free time her passion is for visual art, and when she comes to Liverpool she can’t keep away from the galleries.
“I adore the Walker,” she enthuses. “The collections there are just outstanding. I always say I wont go this time I’m in the city, but it always drags me back. I can see it when I go into the Empire, just calling to me, and I can’t resist.
“I’m the same with the Tate. It’s superb. The whole of the Albert Dock is beautiful, and as someone who knew Liverpool well before all the redevelopment, it’s always a pleasure to see how the city changes every time I visit.”
This time Marti will be visiting with a touring production of 42nd Street.
“There are a lot of youngsters in the cast who have never been to Liverpool before,” explains Marti, 67.
“I’ve told them I’m going to show them the sights.”
Marti is playing fading star Dorothy Brock in the show, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and the subsequent 1933 film adaptation.
It focuses on the efforts of famed dictatorial Great White Way director Julian Marsh to mount a successful stage production of a musical, Pretty Lady, at the height of the Great Depression.
“It’s set in 1933 during the economic depression,” says Marti.
“Times are tough, but a theatre company is trying to put a show on in spite of it.
“Unfortunately they have cast my character, Dorothy, who can’t dance. They have images of this big song and dance spectacular, but she just can’t do it.
“They have to keep her in the role because her boyfriend has put up $100,000 and they can’t afford to lose the money.
“Meanwhile you’ve got Peggy Sawyer, all young and innocent. She causes an accident and the whole show changes from there.”