When a summer visitor stops and asks directions, you can now tell him to take the Bath Road in Brunswick and look for the turn onto “42nd Street.” The musical celebrating that famous Manhattan thoroughfare is now located on the stage of the Pickard Theater on the campus of Bowdoin College.

Based on the hit 1980 musical, which was itself based on a 1930s novel and movie, the Maine State Music Theatre’s “42nd Street” is another take on backstage themes already delved into earlier this season on the same stage in “A Chorus Line” and “Sunset Boulevard.” Fading stars versus eager kids, showbiz sharpies circling around, many good tunes, lots of dance — it’s a familiar formula that the original film helped to bring into the modern psyche. It still works.

It’s all about summoning a sort of theatrical nostalgia for a less complex era where one will find that “There’s a Sunny Side to Every Situation.” It’s all played pretty straight. When everyone knows it’s hokey, there’s no need to point it out.

Audience members who had come to “hear the beat of dancing feet” at Friday’s matinee were singing the catchy title tune and (discretely) attempting their own dance steps as they filed out after the final curtain. The Pickard stage had taken a rhythmic beating with tap dancers hitting hard on such powerhouse tunes as “We’re in the Money” and “Shuffle off to Buffalo.”

Alessa Neeck takes the lead role as the young, aspiring performer from Allentown, Pa., who arrives too late for a Broadway audition but stumbles into stardom nonetheless. Whether attempting rapid-fire tap or belt-it-out singing, Neeck put that gutsy trouper thing across well and showed a real comic gift as her character’s world goes from magical to morose and back again during the course of the story. Her early work with Tyler Hanes on “Young and Healthy” was particularly strong, with good vocals by both. Later, their slow interlude on the title tune added subtlety to a show that mostly comes right at you.

Karen K. Edissi handled the aging diva role well and got to show her distinctive way with a song on two classic numbers: “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “About a Quarter to Nine.”

Patrick Ryan Sullivan” has a lot of stage time as the director of the musical within a musical that his character is trying to keep together. His take on the great “Lullaby of Broadway” was first rate and he added just the right spin to some corny showbiz lines. Charis Leos also was memorable as a backstage mother hen who advises the chorus girls to always be ready to “Go Into Your Dance.”

Director Charles Repole, choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and musical director Jason Wetzel have done an excellent job in putting it all together. Colorful 1930s-era costumes, quick-changing sets and imaginative lighting effects are among the many technical positives that add even more to this entertaining show.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.