‘Anything Goes’ in madcap comedy at Music Theater Works

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

Erica Evans, c, and ensemble in 'Anything Goes' at Music Theater Works in Cahn Auditorium. (Photo by Brett Beiner)
Erica Evans, c, and ensemble in ‘Anything Goes’ at Music Theater Works in Cahn Auditorium. (Photo by Brett Beiner)

If you can leave the theater singing; not one, not two, but three songs from a show that’s been around for more than 80 years, that’s a grand night of theatre! That’s just what “Anything Goes” delivers, now playing at Music Theater Works.

Accompanied by a live orchestra under the fine direction of Roger Bingaman, the show will have you humming along to such Porter classics as “You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “It’s De-Lovely.”

 Consider the times when Cole Porter wrote the music/lyrics in 1934. The depression was still running rapid. Those who could afford theater tickets wanted something funny to make them forget their problems.

With original book by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, the story takes place on the S.S. American, an ocean liner crossing to England.

Among the passengers are a zany cast of characters including gangsters, a debutant and her gold-digging mother, as well as entertainers and showgirls. Everyone has a secret to hide and multiple cases of mistaken identity add to the hilarity.

In the big dance numbers of “Anything Goes” and Blow Gabriel Blow,” you’ll more than get your money’s worth thanks to the high energy choreography by Clayton Cross and great hoofing of the ensemble.

Erica Evans, c, steps to it with the cast of 'Anything Goes.' ( Photo by Brett Beiner )
Erica Evans, c, steps to it with the cast of ‘Anything Goes.’ ( Photo by Brett Beiner )

Erica Evans as Reno Sweeney is a triple threat who can sing, dance and act. Her powerful vocals and show-stopping dance moves step it up a notch.

Ken Singleton is delightful as the lovelorn Billy Crocker who must stop the woman he loves from marrying someone else.

Lexis Danca who plays Hope Harcourt looks beautiful with a lovely sweet voice and plenty of charm.

You’ll give a big hand to Maxwell J. DeTogne as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh who hams it up every time he’s on stage and gets the biggest laughs.

So, set sail with this production. Cole Porter would be proud.

Music Theater Works’ season continues with “Judy Garland: Come Rain or come Shine”  Oct. 5 – 14 and Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” Dec. 22 – 31.

DETAILS: “Anything Goes” is  at Music Theater Works, Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St. Evanston, through Aug.26, 2018. Running time: 2 hrs, 30 mins. with one intermission. For tickets or more information, call (847) 920-5360 or visit MusicTheaterWorks.com.

Mira Temkin

For more shows, visit Theatre in Chicago.

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