The 1934 musical Anything Goes is chock full of Cole Porter tunes that are as lovely to hear today as they were when these songs first hit the stage in their heyday. Anything Goes is the 2014 show presented by Popovsky Performing Arts Studio (PPAS). This show has withstood the test of time, and continues to delight audiences with its fast paced plot and big musical numbers. PPAS’s production of Anything Goes charms the audience with energetic and dynamic performances throughout the production.
Anything Goes debuted on Broadway in 1934 in the Alvin Theatre, which is now known as the Neil Simon Theatre. Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for this show, and the book was penned by Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse. Anything Goes was revived in the United States three times: 1962, 1987, and 2011. The show tells one of the early musical favorite plot conventions of girl meets boy, boy loses girl, and wrapping up with all involved finding love and happiness by the end of the show. All complete with madcap antics involving gangsters, showgirls and with a nautical setting aboard an Atlantic-crossing ocean liner. What ensues is a night full of smile-inducing classic musical theatre and comedic fun.
Under the direction of Michael J. Austin, Anything Goes is a production that is a feel-good musical full of infectious energy. In the role of Reno Sweeney, the infamous nightclub singer, is Julia Gyory. Gyory has the difficult task of not only being likable, but having the voice to pull of such well known Porter songs as “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Anything Goes” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” Gyory has such a warm personality onstage, that she is immediately likable from her first appearance, and her vocals are powerful. One of her best numbers in the show is “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” as she skillfully sings and dances with energy, heart and soul. Playing Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street stockbroker chasing his true love, is Tyler Hart. Hart plays the dapper young man well, and his onstage chemistry with Lauren Ritter who plays Hope Harcourt is striking. Hope Harcourt is an American debutante and the object of Billy’s affection. Ritter brings an innocence to this character, and Hope and Billy’s duet, “De-lovely” is beautiful. In the role of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh is Brenten Megee. Megee has a commanding presence on stage, which makes him perfect for this role. In addition, Megee’s number, “The Gypsy in Me” was strong vocally, enthusiastic and well received by the audience. There are a few more people I need to mention, that had stand out performance. Rogan Motter who plays Moonface Martin and Sarah Fieger who plays Erma. These two are very animated in their performance and they have a wonderful comedic timing that makes the duo even funnier together. Fieger and Motter keep the audience laughing throughout the show. The cast is large and there are too many wonderful performances to mention individually, but all those involved contribute with heart, energy and enthusiasm, particularly in the musical numbers featuring the entire cast, especially “Anything Goes” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” These numbers display exceptional choreography and are where this production really shines. The choreographer for this show is Joanne Weaver and the musical director and producer is Michael Popovsky and both these individuals also deserve applause for this production.
On a personal note, I have been writing reviews for Popovsky Performing Arts Studio for over two years, and with each show I can see how the students and people involved with these shows grow as performers. For me as a writer, and as a supporter of live theatre, watching these young men and women raise the bar in their performances is a delight to see.
Anything Goes is only on stage one more day, August 9, 2014. For more information about Popovsky Performing Arts Studio visit their website at www.popovskyperformingarts.com.
Final Thought: Anything Goes presented by Popovsky Performing Arts Studio is full of lively performances, energy and a lot of heart. This is definitely a show that will have audiences humming along and smiling throughout the production.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com, and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.