See Anything Goes before it leaves Chicago

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.

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