by Peter Haas
In olden days,
A Porter musical
Played to receptions most enthusical … –
Now –amen! –
We’ve got one again!
For a joyous theater evening, with a generous helping of beloved Cole Porter numbers sung and danced by a young, spirited cast, head to the newest Musicals Tonight! production, Anything Goes. Playing at the intimate Lion Theatre, on West 42nd Street, it’s fresh, fast and funny, performed with affection and spirit.
The plot? As devised originally by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, with the book later revised by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, the story is full of twists, turns, mistaken identities, and couples mismatched and re-matched. But no matter: the narrative supports a host of irresistible Porter songs. Included are “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Let’s Misbehave,” “Friendship,” It’s De-lovely,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” and, of course, the title tune. The show also offers grand full-ensemble dancing, comparable on the theater’s tiny stage to Busby Berkley’s efforts in the movies.
With the story line’s on-going twists and turns; its many key figures who pop in and out of doors and disguises, and the show’s underlying ensemble spirit, it’s difficult to single out specific performers. However, the brunt of the action is well placed on the shoulders of the two romantic leads, Billy and Hope, played by Jeremiah Ginn and Allegra Leland; Reno Sweeney, played by Meredith Inglesby (in a role made famous by Ethel Merman), and Moonface, played in times gone by Bert Lahr and here merrily inhabited by Carlos Lopez. Special applause,too, goes to the show’s director/choreographer, Casey Colgan; musical director/vocal arranger, Christopher Stephens; and the producer behind Musicals Tonight and its concept of reviving classic musicals, Mel Miller.
Don’t miss this glorious romp! The last performance is scheduled for March 26th.
Next up on the Musicals Tonight! roster: another Cole Porter classic, “DuBarry Was a Lady”, beginning March 28. www.musicalstonight.org
Photos: Milliron Studios