Back to show

Anything Goes

Highly Recommended ★★★★★

I have just been reading a recipe book. One that deals with my favorites- baked goods, and I realize just how important ingredients are to having an end result that is what one might call, sheer perfection! This is also true when we speak to my other favorite thing, the “Broadway Musical” and the latest opening at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, “Anything Goes”, one of Musical Theatre’s biggest hits, shines even brighter in this new production staged by the perfect chef, Marc Robin.

This is a musical filled with music (Cole Porter’s music and lyrics) with a book by P.G.Woodhouse and Guy Bolton, along with Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay- new rendition by Timothy Crouse and John Weideman and of course, the music and words of Porter, that have changed over the years. Yes, the beauty of this work is that even by changing Porter’s songs, the play is still one hell of an evening at the theater!

This is a silly tale, one that is more a hit parade of Porter music with a slight story behind it, than a full blown musical, but the music contained in this show is what one might call a “hit pof songs of the era”. One show stopping number after another. Imagine a show with songs such as “You’re The Top”, “I Get a Kick Out Of You”, “De-Lovely”, “Friendship” and “Blow Gabriel, Blow” with even more as well! The story is inane stuff about love, deception, love lost, celebrity chasing, financial woes, gangsters and infatuation. This all takes place aboard a luxury liner, the S.S. American, on its way across the Atlantic Ocean.

Our young her, Billy Crocker (well handled by Jameson Cooper, who truly shows his vocal range in this one) has become smitten with a young lady he recently met. Her name is Hope Harcourt (another solid performance by Summer Naomi Smart), who is on this ship to marry one Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Patrick Lane handles this role better than I have witnessed to date, doing his song “The Gypsy In Me” with great fervor and just the right comic touch). There is no love between these young people, but Hope’s mother, having lost everything in the stock market crash (oh, did I tell you, the timing of this show is the depression) Mary Ernster plays Mrs Harcourt to perfection.

Billy is employed by millionaire Elisha Whitney (Gene Weygandt, who just came off one great character shows his versatility with this role) who is a lonely man and had planned to sell many shares of soon to be worthless stock, while on his cruise. Billy never leaves the ship, and so the successful sales never takes place, but this is a “fairy tale” of sorts and in those, all’s well that ends well.

The entire cast is genius with Robin picking the perfect people for every part. John Reeger (a little taller than the set designer, Thomas M. Ryan, might have remembered) as the ships Captain, Patrick Sarb as the Purser, Mark David Kaplan (in several roles, each one unique and played to a tee), Anne Gunn (who has the ability to take one line and make it into almost a scene) Alexandra E. Palkovic (who can sing and dance with the best), Ross Lehman (who once again shows his comic touch as Moonface Martin, and does camp in this one the way it should be done, never missing a beat, well maybe missing one), the absolutely incredible Stephanie Binetti, who will knock your socks off with her rendition of Reno Sweeney- what a talent!

In addition to the above, there is an ensemble that fills the stage at Marriott with more talent than a theater even deserves. You have heard the expression, “My cup over-runneth with love”, in this show, Marc Robin’s stage over-runneth with talent:Brian Bohr, Adam Estes, J. Tyler Whitmer, Andrew Purcell, Scott Shimizu, Kevin Kulp, Patrick Lane, Adrienne Storrs,Katie Johannigman and Annie Jo Ermel as the Angels, Jerry Galante, many playing several roles. This cast fills the intimate stage in Lincolnshire in both physical size and talent- they are great!

Being an in-the-round theater, the set design is limited, but as always, works. The tech people- Jesse Klug (lights), Sally Weiss (props), Robert E. Gilmartin (sound) and Nancy Missimi (dazzling costumes) are solid and the orchestra, directed by Patti Garwood, with musical direction by Ryan T. Nelson, fills the theater with some of the very best of the best in musical numbers. Two hours and fifteen minutes of solid escape from reality into a world of laughter, song and dance (Robin always makes sure that the dance numbers are memories. This is one that could earn a few Jeff Awards for Marriott.