‘Anything Goes’: Review

Erica Evans Johnson as Reno Sweeney was the evening’s star!

anything goes rev pix

Photo: John Kinzer for the IU Department of Theatre and Drama

Martin Bent, Moonface Martin, Erica Johnson, Reno Sweeny, and Ethan Carpenter, Bill Crocker share a little "Friendship" in the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center.

Event Information

Anything Goes

music and lyrics by Cole Porter, Book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse


Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center

April 15, 16, 19-23, 2011

812 855 1103

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes has had a lot of attention recently. While the Broadway revival runs through this weekend, it’s also opened more locally, at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center.

It’s a durable musical; a couple of film versions have been made, and the above are just two of a great number of revivals. IU director George Pinney went back to the 1962 version, believing that one was the one that told the story best.

The Story: What There Is Of It

Billy’s fallen in love with Hope, but in his absence Hope has agreed to marry a titled Englishman. They’re all sailing to the wedding in London, along with Billy’s old pal, former evangelist Reno Sweeney, and her four Angels. On the same boat are Moonface Martin—only Public Enemy No. 3, but hoping to climb the charts—and his partner Bonnie, taking a brief vacation from the ‘heat’ at home. Billy has sneaked on board, and poses as everything from a deck hand to a female passenger in order to pursue his love. Songs, dances and witty wordplay all serve the dependable plot.

The Cast: What They Made Of It

Of the cast for Anything Goes Kerry Ipema and Ethan Carpenter were sympathetic as the young lovers, Hope and Billy. Lawrence Evans was amusing as Billy’s wandering, sometime boss. Ryan Dooley was very funny as the Englishman who sounds like he’s “talking through a monocle.”

Martin Bent was a rough charmer as Moonface Martin, Public Enemy No. 3, and had a delightful moment with his little song, “Be Like the Bluebird.” Francesca Arostegui proved that good things come in small packages as she led the energetic dance numbers for “Heaven Hop” and “Let’s Step Out.” Erica Evans Johnson as Reno Sweeney was the evening’s star, whether tightly plaintive in “I Get a Kick Out of You” or totally relaxed, joyfully in command in “Anything Goes” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.”

The Directors: Who Helped Those Who Made Of It

The tight direction by George Pinney kept the good ship well on course. Senior William Angulo’s choreography moved the cast in, up, down and around in good order. Tap was the ruling motive. Dancers even tapped in a waltz. There was so much tap dancing worked into the show that I fully expected some of the furniture to join in. Terry LaBolt is the music director and presided over the authentic sounds in the pit from the keyboard.

The Audience: Who Enjoyed What They Made

Most of Saturday night’s audience rose to give the cast and the production a standing ovation.

The good ship Anything Goes pulls up the gang plank at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center for voyages each evening at 7:30 through the 23rd. There’s a 2 pm matinee sail on the 23rd, as well.

At the theatre for you, I’m George Walker.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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