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Forty-Second Street
Arthur Dirks
Portfolio Index

Forty-Second Street

Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble

Produced: July, 1994
West Hartford Summer Arts Festival
Director: Haig Shahverdian
Scenery: Arthur Dirks
Lighting: Mark Johnson
Facility: Roberts Auditorium, West Hartford, Ct.

This design was a reprise of a 1988 summer production. Due to repairs at the usual venue, the Roberts offered a hall designed specifically for theatre with controllable sightlines and good audience relationship. A few of the 1988 ideas and motifs were recycled, but nearly all of the paint was new. This design was heavily influenced by work on Guys and Dolls in 1993, which was heavily indebted to Tony Walton, whose color influence is evident here in the 42nd St. drop.

Not seen here is the dressing rooms set, which was two three-high stacks of 4' x 8' levels against the real back wall of the theatre. The audience looked through the mirrors and mirror wall at the performers (after Robert Randolph's 1961 How to Succeed in Business bathroom setting). It was nearly all black, so it didn't photograph. That placing of this setting created the need for the painted theatre back wall.

[Links below go to larger images - anticipate wait for images to load]

Detail views I
Detail views II
Detail views III
42nd St. scene
42nd St. scene

Regency Hotel
Regency Hotel scene

Dressing Room
Dressing Room scene

Pullman scene
Pullman scene

Maison des Dames paint elevation
Maison des Dames

Broad Street train station paint elevation
Broad Street station

Pretty Lady painted scrim hanging
Pretty Lady

42nd St. paint elevation
42nd Street

Stage Door paint elevation
Stage door

Back wall paint elevation
Back wall


This was my tenth of the twelve seasons I designed for the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival. It is a summer theatre program for high school and college age youth from West Hartford and surrounding communities, and funded by the town Liesure Services Department. Rehearsal and build is all done from 6:00 PM to midnight through the month of July, and involves, perhaps, a hundred people. Productions have typically included, in addition to a major musical each year, a straight play (a comedy or a mystery) and a small children's theatre production in some years. The Artistic Director, director of the musical, and master of it all is Hall High School Music Director Haig Shahverdian.

All original content © 2007 copyright Arthur L. Dirks