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'Anything Goes' - really

The screwball Cole Porter musical docks at the Richey Suncoast Theatre.

By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN
Published February 16, 2007


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The zany, high-energy musical Anything Goes is aptly named. It has a big cast, multiple story lines, huge dance numbers and some of Cole Porter's most beloved songs.

The show opens Thursday at Richey Suncoast Theatre, with a three-weekend run to follow.

The original Anything Goes hit Broadway in 1934 and was made into a slightly revised movie version in 1936. Both starred Ethel Merman. The show was reworked and revived in 1962 and again in 1987, the last time with Patti Lupone as the star. It's this last version that Richey Suncoast is doing.

The story has evangelist-turned-nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Liz Onley) boarding a cruise liner with her singing Angels: Purity (Deborah Oles), Chastity (Tate Quinones), Charity (Marion Martin), Virtue (Caitlin Ramirez), and Virginity (Ereka Passarella). Reno hopes to launch her new career on the ship.

Also boarding are socialite Hope Harcourt (Briana Waldorf) and her foppish suitor, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Drew Lundquist).

Just as the ship is about to set sail, Oakleigh's flunky, Billy Crocker (Jason Yungmann), who had helped his boss get settled and was planning to go ashore, spies his friend Hope, learns she's going to marry the stuffy Oakleigh, and decides to stick around to break up the romance.

By good fortune, a nice guy strolls by and just happens to have a spare ticket and passport, which he gives Billy. (Hey, this is musical comedy, where things like this happen all the time.)

Only later does Billy learn that his benefactor is Moonface Martin (Bob Marcela), Public Enemy No. 13, who longs to be Public Enemy No. 1.

The passport and ticket belong to Moonface's fellow gangster, the real Public Enemy No. 1, which forces poor Billy to take on all kinds of disguises to stay out of the brig.

Meanwhile, Reno does her best to break up the Harcourt-Oakleigh romance, which only complicates matters.

Then there's an enthusiastic minister (Manfred Link) who has converted two Chinese men (Ereka Passarella and Megan Watson), who turn out to be incurable gamblers and really do end up in the brig.

The dashing around and covering up are accompanied by Porter favorites, including the wistful All Through the Night, the high-volume Blow, Gabriel, Blow by Reno and her Angels, and mellow It's De-Lovely and I Get a Kick Out of You.

So what happens when the passengers are told that innocent-looking Billy is Public Enemy No. 1?

That's when Anything Goes really earns its name.

If you go

'Anything Goes'

Where: Richey Suncoast Theatre, 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey.

When: Thursday and weekends through March 11. Sunday shows are at 2:30 p.m.; the rest are at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $15, reserved seating. Box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and an hour before each show. Call (727) 863-7949.

[Last modified February 15, 2007, 23:22:06]


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