The Valley’s own Emily Blake Anderson dances in “42nd Street” at ASU Gammage

42nd Street, ASU Gammage, Emily Blake Anderson
Blake Stadnik as Billy Lawlor (center) and company perform “We’re in the Money” during the national tour of “42nd Street.” Emily Blake Anderson is the dancer on the coin at the far right. Photo: Chris Bennion.

Currently on a national tour with the musical “42nd Street,” former Valley resident Emily Blake Anderson says, “This is my first time, and I’m really enjoying it.”

Good thing, because when the tour is over, she’ll have experienced plenty of days on the road. The show appears April 5-10 at ASU Gammage Theater in Tempe.

“We opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, back in September,” Anderson says. “We’re closing in Tulsa, Okla., in July.”

Emily Blake Anderson, who grew up in the northeast Valley, will appear in “42nd Street” at ASU Gammage in April.

Anderson grew up in Paradise Valley and North Scottsdale. She spent her elementary and middle school years at Tesseract School and then attended Cactus Shadows High School.

Dancing as a child “definitely instilled a really strong work ethic in me, which I’m grateful for,” Anderson says.

She danced at a variety of studios, including the Scottsdale Dance Academy (now called the Scottsdale School of Ballet) and credits ballet teacher Katherine O’Connor with giving her a strong foundation in ballet.

She also considers her work with tap teacher Jan Lawton of huge importance. “Without that, I wouldn’t be here,” she says. “There’s so much tapping in the show.”

Growing up, she loved performing in recitals and on a stage. One favorite memory is portraying
“Grumpy” in a “Snow White” ballet.

About “42nd Street”

Based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and the 1933 movie featuring the spectacular choreography of Busby Berkeley, “42nd Street” is a backstage musical classic known for such iconic songs as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and of course “42nd Street.”

With book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, the touring production is directed by Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner, who staged the 2001 revival that won a Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.

The Company of “42nd Street” in “Lullaby of Broadway.” Photo: Chris Bennion.

Anderson is in the ensemble, “which is awesome,” she says, and also understudies the role of Dorothy Brock, whom she calls “the diva of the show.” Though she hasn’t yet gone on stage in the role, she tries to be as prepared as possible and practices going over lines, blocking and music.

Currently a resident of Astoria, N.Y., Anderson says coming back to perform in the Valley is a dream come true. Her first exposure to seeing musicals as a kid was going to national tours at Gammage, so it’s “cool to be back and performing on that stage.”

Anderson majored in dance and communications and minored in theater arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and later moved to New York City to attend CAP21’s musical theater training program. (CAP21’s full name is the Collaborative Arts Project 21.)

Bring the kids?

ASU Gammage’s website deems “42nd Street” appropriate for all ages. To prepare children, parents may want to first watch some classic movie musicals together at home.

In 1933, the Great Depression was in full force. Audiences turned to movie and theatrical musicals to find relief. Ruby Keeler danced her way through “42nd Street” in 1933 and “Gold Diggers of 1933.” Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did the same in “Flying Down to Rio” in 1933 and “Top Hat” in 1935, and there were countless others.

Today’s children have no memory of that era, of course, but they may be aware that we’ve recently come through a Great Recession and are still feeling its effects. And musicals such as “42nd Street” still have the power to lift us up.

“42nd Street” – What you need to know

Times/dates: 7:30pm Tues Apr 5 through Fri Apr 8, 2 & 7:30pm Sat Apr 9, 1 & 6:30pm Sun Apr 10
Tickets: $25 and up
Venue: ASU Gammage, 1200 S Forest Ave, Tempe
Contact: 480-965-3434 or