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Top-notch cast and motley tech crew sail smoothly into audience’s heart in Walt Whitman’s “Anything Goes”

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Rachel Lawhead, a student at McLean High School , reviews “Anything Goes” performed by Walt Whitman High School as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program .

A relaxing cruise aboard a resplendent vessel is the perfect get-away from the chaos of the world. The soothing sounds of the sea, the gentle rocking of the boat and the calming sea spray takes you far away from your troubles. But when quandaries board the ship in the form of a criminal, an old lover and your boss, you are in for a thrilling journey. Love and disguises, convicts and tap dancing, Walt Whitman High School executed “Anything Goes” with matchless expertise.

“Anything Goes”, written by Cole Porter, follows the pandemonium aboard the S.S. American when a stowaway tries to woo an heiress away from her rich English fiancée with the help of a convict and a nightclub singer. The show debuted in 1934 at the Neil Simon Theatre and became the fourth-longest running musical of the 1930s. It has been revived several times on both Broadway and West End with minimal adaptations to the plot and the music.

At the center of everything, Reno (Erin Craig) scorched the stage with her smoldering presence and nimble wit. Her unparalleled and prodigious voice carried the show with its unending range and outstanding tone. With quick-tapping feet and beautiful technique, this triple-threat shook and shimmied her way into the audience’s heart. Billy Crocker (Bryan Eng) rounded out Reno’s shine with his silky smooth tone and classic voice. His use of different voices to obscure himself in his disguises produced laughter and highlighted his vocal skills.

Bonnie (Michelle Huey) revived the character of the blonde bimbo with evident skill. Her commitment to her character choices was strong and constant throughout. Tapping and gliding, her talented feet clearly showed her dancing skill. Her voice commanded the stage, even when called to dance and sing at the same time. Her chemistry with Moonface (Ryan Savage) aided them both in creating a dynamic comedic duo. Sir Evelyn (Lucas Weals) brought a sense of reality to the ridiculous circumstances with his dry wit and natural actions. The seven Angels of Reno Sweeny were adorably suggestive and created a vigorous ensemble with their flawless dancing.

The technical elements of the show aided in creating a third dimension to the bizarre conditions aboard the ship. The deck of the two-tiered boat adorned the stage, using silvers and blues to decorate the doorways and façade. The impressive versatility of the set ranged from an inside theater to several different cabins with simple and quick additions. The stage crew was invisible and swift, utilizing the levels of the set to change the scene. The lights ornamenting the portholes and the steps creatively lit up distinctive moments of the story. The costumes characterized each actor to their unique personality, from the short sparkling dresses of the Angels to Bonnie’s numerous flapper dresses. Flawless orchestration accompanied the show and moved it along with its harmonious interludes.

Catchy tunes and fantastic tap numbers narrated the outrageous events of “Anything Goes”. Cons and night club singers co-mingled on the deck of the England bound vessel, while identities were abandoned and morals were lost at sea. While this show indulges in farcical nonsense, Walt Whitman’s production proved that anything goes.

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