Warwick, RI — The Tony Award winning musical, Anything Goes, currently on stage at the Ocean State Theatre in Warwick, takes place aboard the SS America, sailing from New York to England in the 1930s, but it’s the audience that’s in for a ride.
This fast-paced comedy features a large cast of players, including sailors, gangsters, English royalty, Wall Street tycoons, showgirls, a night club singing evangelist and passengers hoping to rub elbows with the famous and near-famous.
The story centers around Billy Crocker, a Wall Street errand boy, and the girl he loves, Hope Harcourt, who is about to marry a member of the British aristocracy. Billy’s friend, Reno Sweeney, the star of the on-board entertainment is instrumental in getting the young lovers together, and in the process, finds love herself.
Anything Goes is nearly pitch perfect with several standout performances. Most notable is Jessica Wagner playing Reno Sweeney. She sets a high bar for herself in the beginning with her performance of “I get a kick out of you”, and then raises it with “Friendship”, a duet with Dennis Setteducati playing the role of Moonface Martin. By the time she sings “Anything Goes” at the end of the first act, the audience was enthralled. Accompanied by the entire cast singing and dancing, Ms. Wagner’s performance of “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” was amazing.
Nate Suggs, playing Billy Crocker was another highlight as he sang and danced his way through Cole Porter classics including “Easy to Love” and “It’s Delovely”.
Dennis Setteducati, as Moonface Martin, 13th on the FBI’s most wanted list was superb, and his girlfriend/mob moll Erma, played by Katie Howe was a perfect choice as a slightly tacky, va-va-voom presence. Her performance of “Buddie Beware” was her opportunity to showcase her singing talent and she took full advantage of it.
The biggest surprise of the night was Andrew Boza as the reserved, up-tight Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. He has the opportunity to break free of the aristocratic chains that bind him when he sings “The Gypsy in Me”. His long lanky form and misguided awkward dancing reveal the inner spirit yearning to be free.
This production of Anything Goes, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter is the version originally produced on Broadway in 1987. Directed and staged by Amiee Turner, with choreography by Gerrianne Genga, this is a lavish production, with talented dancing, brilliant singing, and great performances by the entire cast.
As always, when staging a musical, OSTC uses professional musicians. Led by Music Director Esther Zabinski, the orchestra was exceptional. The set and lighting, by Scenic and Lighting Designer Bert Scott was outstanding.
Anything Goes runs from April 27 through May 22 at the OSTC located at 1245 Jefferson Blvd. in Warwick. Tickets are available at the box office or online at www.oceanstatetheartre.org.