(L to R) Mickey Orange (Ensemble/Quartet), Ben Gunderson (Purser/Ensemble/Quartet), Soara-Joye Ross (Reno Sweeney), Brent McBeth (Ensemble/Quartet/Fred/Photographer) and Nicholas Yenson (Ensemble/Quartet) in “Anything Goes” running Nov. 2 through Dec. 23 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo: Maria Baranova.
“Anything Goes,” Cole Porter’s vintage classic musical, is playing at Arena Stage for the holidays.
Updated from the era of the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression, the cast of characters includes a wide range of the sorts we still see around today: those 1%-ers and the working class, celebrities and crooks, evangelists and entertainers.
The plot is simple enough.
Corbin Bleu is the ever-charming Billy Crocker. He embarks on the ocean liner, SS American, sailing from New York to London, in hopes of stopping the marriage of his love, the heiress Hope Harcourt (Lisa Helmi Johanson) to the quirky millionaire Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Jimmy Ray Bennett).
Then add that on the ship is the steamy nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Soara-Joye Ross), who is in love with Billy.
Love does make things complicated.
Accompanying Hope is her overbearing widowed mother Evangeline Harcourt (Lisa Tejero), who wants Hope to marry a rich man even as she is being pursued by the near-sighted, and always right, Elisha Whitney (Thomas Adrian Simpson). Elisha is Billy’s boss who left orders for Billy to sell some stocks.
Marrying for money makes love really complicated.
Then add celebrity criminals on the voyage like the lovable Moonface Martin, aka Public Enemy #13 (Stephen DeRosa), with his gun moll Erma (Mario Rizzo), and the plot dissolves into hilarious confusion.
Finally, the knots of matrimony get everyone paired off happily before this ship comes in.
Oh yes, and added to the mix, there is Evangeline’s cute dog Cheeky, played by either a Papillion named Maximillian Moonshine or a rescue dog, Olly.
With its dreamy waltzes, dynamic tap-dancing, and ensemble numbers of chorus girls and sailors, “Anything Goes” doesn’t just get standing ovations. Alejo Vietti’s gorgeous costumes so perfectly match Parker Esse’s wonderful choreography for this musical that sets people dancing in the aisles.
After all, “anything goes.” At Arena Stage until Dec. 23.
BY Sheila Wickouski