[mediagrid cat=”34408″]In a world where musicals evolve from romantic comedies, pain and struggle and the occasional hip-hop founding father, a musical like Cole Porter’s classic “Anything Goes” would seem like a relic of the past. Julia Keith, director and College of Communication senior, proved with her production that “Anything Goes,” running Thursday through Saturday at the Boston University Tsai Performance Center, is more than just a whimsical romp through the ‘30s — it’s timeless.
The plot of “Anything Goes,” like any classic musical, can be best described as madcap, with several intertwining plots connected by amazing musical numbers. The protagonists are Billy Crocker (Chris Kuiken), a former a Wall Street broker and Reno Sweeney (Hanna Anderson) — the main singer and owner of a New York nightclub who has feelings for Billy.
These feelings, however, are unrequited — after a fateful night in a taxi, Billy fell in love with famous heiress and debutante Hope Harcourt (Sarah Sosland), and can’t think of anyone but her. As luck would have it, Billy ends up a stowaway on a transatlantic cruise — the very same cruise where Reno will perform, where Billy’s boss Mr. Elisha Whitney (Hugo Lindsay) is on a business trip to London and where Hope will travel back to England with her fiancé, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Alden Lebov), and her mother Evangeline (Morgan DeMartis).
Billy and Reno find themselves on an adventure full of gangsters, priests and show-stopping performances in this comedy of errors to reunite Billy with his one true love.
The plot of “Anything Goes” may seem convoluted at first glance, yet the audience won’t have to focus too hard, since what matters most are the song-and-dance numbers the plot ties together. However, the plot was updated for modern audiences, cutting out “outdated jokes and exaggerated misrepresentations,” Keith said.
As for the musical numbers, BU On Broadway’s version of the classic “Anything Goes” tunes redefines the words “show-stopping,” as seen in the ensemble numbers. Choreographer Molly Balseiro’s hard work shows when the entire cast leaps and dances all over the stage in numbers such as “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and the title song “Anything Goes.”
Almost all of the smaller numbers are just as impressive as their full-company counterparts. Billy may be the focus of the story, but Anderson’s Reno steals the spotlight for both the solo and duet numbers. Apart from fearlessly leading the cast-wide numbers, she steals the scene in “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” “You’re The Top” and “Friendship,” going above and beyond the incredible singing and dancing that is to be expected of an On Broadway performance.
That isn’t to say that the rest of the cast doesn’t pull their weight on this ship. Billy and Hope get their own duet and solos (including “It’s De-Lovely” and “All Through The Night), as do Mr. Whitney, Lord Evelyn and not-so-dangerous gangster Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin (Idine Mousavi), all extremely memorable and great displays of how the entire cast is incredibly apt to do musicals of this stature. There isn’t a dull moment or a flat note from anyone in the cast, with all actors having incredible chemistry with each other onstage in addition to the already great musical harmony.
As mentioned before, “Anything Goes” is a classic both in and out of the musical scene. On Broadway acknowledges this, and makes it accessible and fresh without taking away what made it a classic in the first place. If you’re looking for a show that’ll really sweep you off your feet, “Anything Goes” is the place to go.