Anything Goes: It’s De-lovely—Theatre

Fun is in the air when the talented cast takes center stage at the Kennedy Center’s mounting of “Anything Goes.” Although written in the 1930s, Cole Porter’s music and lyrics are still beautiful, clever…and “oh, so easy to love.”Anything Goes

Most of the musical’s action takes place on a ship headed to England and is a story of star-crossed lovers and mistaken identities. With original book by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, “Anything Goes” takes a jaundiced look at celebrity, class and wealth. While the dialogue is purposely corny, the idea behind the dialogue hits the nail on the head and still holds true—Kim Kardashian, anyone?

But enough of the seriousness.  What makes “Anything Goes” special are the  inspired songs, the terrific choreography and the fabulous cast.  The number, Anything Goes, closes out Act One on a high, but Blow, Gabriel, Blow really hits it out of the ballpark (or in this case, the boat) at the beginning  of Act Two.

Rachel York as Reno Sweeney does a great job in portraying toughness and vulnerability. While York is a good dancer, her singing is a force of nature…it’s that wonderful. Edward Staudenmayer, as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, isn’t given much to do in Act One, but when he lets loose in Act Two’s The Gypsy in Me, watch out! It’s a show-stopping performance. Joyce Chittick , as the not so dumb as she looks Erma, is terrific. Her comedic timing is spot-on and she can dance and belt it out with the best of them.

Martin Pakledinaz’s costumes must be singled out for special praise. They absolutely dazzle. I wanted to wear every one of the actresses’ outfits.

“Anything Goes” is good, old-fashion fun. Just like they did in the ‘30s, you’ll leave the theatre humming.

The Kennedy Center Opera House through July 7

3 ½ nuggets out of 4

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