Take an uproarious cruise at Marriott's 'Anything Goes'
You won’t be disappointed if you think anything can happen when Marriott Theatre does “Anything Goes.” Passengers and crew of the S.S. American will have you laughing until you cry and applauding their fabulous dance sequences until your hands hurt. Indeed, Marriott’s “Anything Goes,” is “Easy to Love.”
The oft revived Cole Porter musical gem becomes even funnier under the deft direction of Marc Robin. Based on the 1987 Lincoln Center Theater Broadway revival, Robin allows characters the freedom to exaggerate drunken missteps, speech and wild gestures and other nutty antics. Because in Porter’s silly show about criminals who are celebrities, ministers cut from a different cloth and misguided love seekers, anything goes, and does.
Porter’s wonderful “Blow, Gabriel, Blow and “I Get a Kick Out of You” mean “It’s De-lovely” when powerfully delivered by Stephanie Binetti as Reno Sweeney, a nightclub singer turned evangelist.
“Be like the Bluebird” is utterly delish when chirped by Ross Lehman as Public Enemy 13 Moonface Martin.
The entire cast is first rate but Binetti and Lehman’s performances are good enough reason to see this production. So are Porter’s clever lines, many of which are fed by Lehman to sidekick Alexandra Palkovic (Ema), supposedly the moll of Snake Eyes, Public Enemy No. 1.
The first act is long but so full of fine singing and nuttiness that time stands still. It ends with such an extraordinary “Anything Goes” dance and song number that it probably should have been used for the show’s finale.
With Robin at the S. S. America helm you can expect high energy, exceptionally choreographed, dance numbers highlighting the show including Palkovic’s terrific “Buddie Beware” which comes near the end of Act II.
But it also has its softer moments. Jameson Cooper, fledgling stockbroker (Billy Crocker) proclaims his love for passenger Hope Harcourt, portrayed by Summer Naomi Smart with Porter’s “Easy to Love” in Act I. They do a charming “All Through the Night” in Act II.
Intertwined are fine and funny moments between Mary Ernster, Hope's mother, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, and Gene Weygandt, who as investor Elisha Whitney, wants Crocker to sell some stock.
And in the end Hope's fiance, Patrick Lane (Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), gets the girl he really wants.
The show might be a good time to look up the lyrics to "Anything Goes." They mention that "times have changed..." and that "Good authors too who once knew better words, Now only use four-letter words. So you think, times really haven't changed all that much.