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Center Stage: ‘Anything Goes’ is a trip down memory lane

March 8, 2017
By Marsha Wagner , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Pack up all your cares and woes and sail away for a couple of fun filled hours of high powered, first rate entertainment on the "Anything Goes" production, currently docking at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Oh boy, was this ever a terrific show for shaking the blahs away, and just what the doctor ordered.

If I were to have Cole Porter write this review he would start by saying "It's delightful, it's delicious, it's delovely", and he would be spot on. This 1934 musical which opened at another time when America was down in the dumps of the Great Depression, "Anything Goes" picked up our spirits then, and made us feel "great again."

This 180th production of "Anything Goes" is the perfect screwball musical, with its cargo full of colorful characters, boat load of tap dancing sailors and sassy chorus girls ready to turn on the juice guaranteeing us a rousing evening while putting us back on track again, some 83 years later.

The original book by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton was first revised in 1962 by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and revised again in 1987 by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, this is the version currently playing at the Palm. The timeless score by Cole Porter has pretty much remained the same, the classic standards starting with the title song "Anything Goes," "You're the Top," "Easy to Love" and "Blow Gabriel Blow." Porter himself added two additional standards in 1936 from a different musical ("Red, Hot and Blue",) the afore mentioned "De Lovely" and "I Get A Kick Out of You." As you can see this show is one of those 30s shows that gets regularly revived, because it is an "All American Musical."

The show's madcap story line takes place on a luxury liner the S.S. America, involving a love triangle between Reno Sweeny (audacious, curvaceous, high energy, razzle, dazzling Ms. Christina Tompkins,) In the role of Billy Crocker, we have an outstanding, triple threat performer Conor Robert Fallon. The third member of our triangle is ingnue Hope Harcourt played by another topnotch singer/dancer/actress Allison Fund. Add to this merry mix-up that Billy is trying to prevent Hope's marriage to the funny stuffed shirt Lord Evelyn Oakleigh played to the absolute hilt by campy Craig Smith.

And if that isn't enough, we have a whole boat load of characters in zany disguises, one is America's Most Wanted" gangster Moon Mullins in disguise as Reverend Dobson (Broadway Palm favorite Victor Legarreta playing in one of his best roles ever seen in these parts, and stealing the show.) We also need to mention Moon's side kick and main squeeze, gun moll Erna (the adorably, sexy Theresa Walker.)

Let's not forget another funny guy Billy's boss, a former Yale jock Elisha Whitney (Paul Crane a funny guy, who can make near sightedness a belly laugh.) And finally, Hope's "upper crust" mom Mrs. Harcourt played to her snobbiest, upper "crustiest" by Desiree Dillon.

This is a shipboard romance with enough zing and twists to be as bracing as a dry martini with just as much of a kick. The plot is merely a way to bring on a parade of leggy dancing/singing girls and guys, tap dancing and singing their hearts out, then adding on lots of hilarious low comedy burlesque jokes, and then tying the whole thing together with the ever surprising, memorable songs and lyrics by The best tune smith ever, Cole Porter. Well, you get the idea, add all these ingredients together with the ingenious direction by resident director Paul Bernier, effective choreography and staging by Samantha Hewes Cramer and you've got a show that not only will knock your socks off but threatens to blow the roof off the Broadway Palm, with its sheer energy. In other words, this show is a WOW if ever there was one; a crowd pleaser from overture to final curtain call, and my final advice is make your reservations now. This show is already starting to sellout, it is that good.

So, start the ball rolling by phoning the box office at (239) 278-4422 for reservations and when you phone remind 'em Marsha sent you.



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