Marti Webb, who turns 68 in December, has had a stage career of more than half-a-century, during which time she has appeared in musical shows by some of the best – Anthony Newly, Lionel Bart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Next month, she’s in 42nd Street at the Alhambra . The show started out as a novel in 1932 by one Bradford Ropes. But it is better remembered as an Oscar-nominated Busby Berkeley musical that Warner Brothers made in 1933 for less than $500,000 – a lot of money then, but barely the price of a leading lady’s contract now.

Variations of the plot have appeared in film musicals and stage shows from Singin’ In The Rain to The Producers, as Marti explained: “Dorothy Brock is a Broadway star who is going to play this musical (Pretty Lady) because her sugar daddy has agreed to put up $100,000. The producer doesn’t want her in the show because she’s not a dancer, so he goes out of his way to make things difficult for her as possible.”

And to bring in naive newcomer Peggy Sawyer, just off the bus from Pennsylvania, a stage-struck wannabe who can dance and sing.

Since its first appearance in the West End in 1980, 42nd Street has always appealed to theatre audiences. This version, which Marti Webb joined in May, has been packing them in.

“It’s been sold out everywhere. We get standing ovations. Times are hard and people need something to feel good about, but I don’t think it’s that,” she said.

“There is something about the show that is uplifting. It isn’t dark, it is very bright. We even have footlights, the costumes are very bright.”

And then there are the numbers (words and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren respectively). Songs include We’re In The Money, Shuffle Off to Buffalo and 42nd Street itself.

This show is Marti Webb’s 33rd stage show, including reprises of Evita, since appearing in Liverpool as a Moonbeam in Listen To The Wind. Her career took off in 1961 when she appeared in Stop The World – I Want To Get Off, starring the multi-talented Anthony Newly.

“He taught me everything I know,” said Marti. “He would tell me about the business and was a great role model.

“He was always on. We were on Broadway for 20 months and he was never off.

“It was just wonderful to watch somebody every night work a show every night. And you have to work a show every night because the audiences are different, some of the cast may be different.”

Evidently, that work ethic has stood her in good stead through all the changes of taste and fashion over 51 years.

42nd Street is on at the Alhambra from September 18 to 22. For tickets ring (01274) 432000.