by Claire DeMarco
If you Google the phrase anything goes, the definition presented is: anything is acceptable; there are no rules for behavior, dress, etc. That meaning fits the group of characters who find themselves on a ship headed to London.
Passengers aboard the S.S. American include stowaway Billy Crocker (A. J. Shively) who’s looking for his love, Hope Harcourt (Liz Leclerc). Hope is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Geoff Packard) and they are traveling to London to be married. Hope’s mother, Evangeline Harcourt (Theo Allyn), anxious for the union, hovers close by. Billy Crocker’s longtime friend Reno Sweeney (Rashidra Scott) is also along for the ride, as is his boss, Elisha Whitney (Allan Snyder).
“Anything Goes” is a delightful musical comedy full of slapstick, innuendoes, silly antics, mistaken identities, misunderstandings and general confusion.
Of course, it’s unbelievable, but it’s “De-Lovely” and “Easy to Love!”
Scott is brilliant as Reno. She has wonderful stage presence, great dancing skills, and a beautiful singing voice, especially her rendition of “I Get a Kick Out of You.” Throw in comedy and what a well-rounded talent.
Shively shines as the persistent romantic. His dancing and gymnastic moves are as smooth as is his singing. Equally effective are his comedic skills.
Packard is very convincing as the Englishman who’s obsessed with American slang and sayings but misuses them constantly much to the delight of the audience. His timing is impeccable.
Howell and Weinzierl’s individual performances are exceptional. They are especially funny when they interact with one another – he as the mobster/minister and she as the naughty mobster’s girl/religious convert.
Leclerc’s “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye” is lovely as is her “It’s De-Lovely” song and dance with Crocker.
The entire cast and company are excellent. What a well-balanced group of professionals. Their tap dancing to “Anything Goes” is phenomenal.
We can’t leave Cole Porter out of the mix for praise. His music is magical and is essential to the success of “Anything Goes.” Incorporating his music with a storyline that is often laced with unrealistic plots and situations actually works.
Leave your worries at home and come see “Anything Goes.”
Anything Goes runs from Jun 13, 2023 – Jun 18, at the Benedum Center, 237 Seventh Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, click here.