With all the bad news coming out of the cruise lines, ocean
voyage has seemingly lost its luster. But check out Broadway in
Chicago's "Anything Goes," full of hijinks on the high seas, and
you'll be itching to book your own seafaring adventure.
"Anything Goes," a 2011 revival of Cole Porter's 1934 musical,
is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through May 5 and makes for a
great date night or girls' night out (this one's probably not for
the kids). The plot follows Billy Crocker, a young stock broker,
and his friend, nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, as they embark on a
voyage - literally - to find love. Throw in some old-school
gangsters, a missionary and a buffoonish nobleman, and it's safe to
say that it's not exactly smooth sailing.
The paper-thin plot contrivances would make you roll your eyes,
except you're laughing too hard for that. I was embarrassed at
giggling for a full two minutes over perhaps the silliest punch
line in the show - until I realized that everyone else around me
was laughing, too. And you'll be more apt to forgive the more dated
parts of the show simply because of its big laughs.
Even if you don't know the plot, the show is packed with tunes
that are sure to sound familiar, from sweet love song "I Get a Kick
Out of You" to goofy ode to friendship, "You're the Top." The dance
scenes are awe-inspiring, especially when the actors launch from
furious tapping to deep-throated singing in a single breath.
Actress Rachel York truly wows with her brash take on the sexy
Reno, with a voice that sounds straight out of the 1930s. Fred
Applegate (as Moonface Martin), Dennis Kelly (as Elisha Whitney)
and Edward Staudenmayer (as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh) each get their
own stage-stealing scenes. And Josh Franklin and Alex Finke as
would-be lovers Billy and Hope add a sweet grounding to the comedy
of errors swirling around them.
"Anything Goes" might not have the name recognition as some of
the other shows hitting the stage in Chicago this season, but it
definitely makes for a delightful evening. You'll leave feeling up
for "anything" - maybe even a cruise of your own.
Elizabeth Diffin is the senior editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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