42nd Street original cast – where are they now?

The musical was the last show to play at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and closed in 2019

42nd Street
42nd Street
© Brinhoff/Moegenburg

Can you believe that 42nd Street was the last show to play at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane? The musical came back to its West End home some 33 years after its London premiere and played until January 2019. Then the venue closed for refurbishment to make way for Frozen – and remains closed until at least 2 April 2021.

We took a look back at the cast from the original West End production of 42nd Street – which opened on 8 August 1984 – to find out what they got up to after treading those boards.

Catherine Zeta Jones
© David Shankbone

Catherine Zeta Jones (Peggy Sawyer)

Zeta Jones got her big break when she was called up to the role of Peggy Sawyer following the indisposition of the lead and the first understudy. Without doubt the most successful alumnus from the original production, Zeta Jones has gone on to Hollywood stardom with credits including The Mask of Zorro, Entrapment and the screen adaptation of Chicago where she won an Oscar for her performance.

The part of Sawyer in the West End revival was played by Clare Halse.

James Laurenson
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

James Laurenson (Julian Marsh)

A veteran actor, Laurenson's credits before 42nd Street included a 1970 production of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, opposite Ian McKellen. In more recent times, Laurenson has starred as the Earl of Westmoreland in the BBC Two adaptations of Henry IV, Parts I and II. In 2016, he played the role of John Weir in the Netflix series The Crown, and Knut Brovik in The Master Builder at the Old Vic.

The part of Marsh in the West End revival was played by Tom Lister.

Georgia Brown performing on the CBS television program Showtime.
Georgia Brown performing on the CBS television program Showtime.

Georgia Brown (Dorothy Brock)

By the time Brown joined the cast of 42nd Street she was an accomplished musical theatre legend with 40 years of experience under her belt. Her West End credits ranged from The Threepenny Opera at the Royal Court in 1956 to originating the role of Nancy in the 1960 premiere production of Oliver!. Her later television success included roles in Star Trek, Murder, She Wrote and an Emmy Award-nominated performance in Cheers. She passed away at the age of 58 in 1992.

The part of Brock in the West End revival was first played by Sheena Easton, before the role was taken over by Lulu, Steph Parry and finally Bonnie Langford. Langford played the role of Peggy Sawyer almost 25 years earlier, in a national tour of the show.

Maurice Lane
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Maurice Lane (Andy Lee)

Having started off in showbiz aged nine, touring the variety circuit with his father – comedian Sandy Lane – Lane was a seasoned pro by the time he joined the cast of 42nd Street. Since then he's starred in multiple West End productions including She Loves Me, Fiddler On the Roof, Show Boat and The Witches of Eastwick. He more recently seen playing Mr Keeney in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Funny Girl and the subsequent West End transfer. Fun fact – Lane was in the original London production of Funny Girl with the legendary Barbra Streisand herself.

The part of Lee in the West End revival was played by Graeme Henderson, who took over the role of Billy Lawlor in the original production and is one of the only original cast members to return for this revival.

Carol Ball
© Elyse Marks

Carol Ball (Annie)

Ball played ‘Anytime Annie' for five years at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. She also starred in West End productions of Chicago, Hello Dolly and played Mimi in the National Theatre production of Guys and Dolls. She was also in Craig Revel Horwood's production of Follies at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015.

The part of Annie in the West End revival was played by Emma Caffrey.

Margaret Courtenay (Maggie Jones)

Courtney was a revered actress who won an Olivier Award for her performance in Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables. Above is a clip of her in Royal Flash in 1975 where she played Lady. Prior to her appearing in 42nd Street, she appeared in a host of Shakespearean productions in the '50s, '60s and '70s on both sides of the pond. Her later work included Follies alongside Diana Rigg at the Shaftesbury, and the RSC revival of Show Boat at the London Palladium in 1990. She passed away in 1996 at the age of 72.

The part of Jones in the West End revival was played by Jasna Ivir.

Hugh Futcher
© Oliver Tseliki

Hugh Futcher (Bert Barry)

Futcher was perhaps best known for being part of the Carry On company and had notable roles in Carry On Spying, Carry On at Your Convenience, and Carry On Behind. In more recent times he has appeared in Netflix series The Crown as David Ben-Gurion.

The part of Barry in the West End revival was played by Christopher Howell.

Michael Howe
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Michael Howe (Billy Lawlor)

Highlights of Howe's stage career since appearing in 42nd Street include Camelot with Richard Harris at the Apollo and Racky Plews' 2010 production of Drowsy Chaperone. Most recently he has starred in the feature films A United Kingdom and Monalisa Lives.

The part of Lawlor in the West End revival was first played by Stuart Neal, before the role was taken over by Ashley Day.

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