Review of Anything Goes

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 By: Gerard Falco. Source: The Theatre Guide

The 1934 Broadway classic Anything Goes makes an appearance at the Westchester Broadway Theatre this summer running through September 9th.  The classic production, with memorable music and lyrics by Cole Porter, debuted during the height of the great depression and is here directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford.

Typical for the era, the play focuses on the lives of the glamorous elite. The show pokes fun at the general public’s infatuation with social status by showing the public’s careless inability to distinguish fame from celebrity. The play takes place on a trans-Atlantic luxury liner bound for England from New York City.  Young Billy Crocker (Zach Trimmer) finds out that his socialite crush is onboard the ship while he is settling affairs for his wealthy ivy league boss Elisha Whitney (Bob Watson). Whitney is boarding the ship on his way to see his Yale alma mater crew compete at the Royal Henley Regatta. The woman of Billy Crocker’s affection, Hope Harcourt (Jackie Raye), is planning to go through with the wishes of her mother, Mrs. Harcourt (Tina Johnson), by marrying British Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Kevin Pariseau) during the ocean passage.  Mr. Trimmer plays the scorned boyish lover well and there is fairly good chemistry between the two.  Their singing performances are well done.

If you are fond of Damon Runyon characters, you will truly enjoy the great casting which is loaded with mobsters, molls, and con men. These comical roles are exceptionally well-played by such actors as Mr. Paraseiu as Lord Oakleigh, John J. Peterson as Moonface Martin and Mychal Phillips playing the moll Erma. The catalyst for all the activity is nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Stacia Fernandez). This role was originally played by the great Ethel Merman and Ms. Fernandez plays the part true to form with her powerful voice and personality.

The time-period costuming, by Keith Nielsen, is beautiful, eye-catching and varied. And tap dancing. Did I mention tap dancing? The large and talented ensemble fills the stage with cleverly choreographed dance numbers which truly capture one’s attention. These sometimes form the interlude between scenes. The various sets are interesting, the music is bright and the sound quality is very good. If there is any complaint in this regard it is that the great Cole Porter lyrics are sometimes hard to distinguish through the musical score. A pleasant dinner and a great classic play are a nice way to pass a warm summer evening.

Running Time: Approximately 2 1/2 hours with one 30 minute intermission. Dinner service begins an hour and a half prior to the first act.