Everything goes right in spring musical, Anything Goes

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Reno Sweeney (senior Megan Poulos), Billy Crocker (senior Wyn Stopford), and Moonface Martin (senior Jack Fishman) singing “Friendship.” All three actors were strong leads that helped to bring the comedy of the show to its full potential.

Rachel Kogan, Copy Editor

Performed the weekend of March 23 in the auditorium, Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is an energetic musical that teaches the audience about the power of love.  Either that or the benefits of working with a criminal.

The play, set in the 1930s, follows a young broker named Billy Crocker (senior Wyn Stopford), who works for aged Wall Street broker Elisha J. Whitney (junior Max Miranda), as he sets sail on a cruise ship to England without a passport or any other form of identification.  His intentions?  To spend time with his lover, Ms. Hope Harcourt (senior Laynie Calderwood), who is engaged to marry a rich English gentleman, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (senior Sameer Nanda).  Harcourt and Oakland are followed by Harcourt’s mother, wealthy lady and evident gold digger, Mrs. Wadsworth T. Harcourt (senior Arielle Waller).

In his attempt to conceal himself, Crocker colludes with “Public enemy number 13,” Moonface Martin (senior Jack Fishman) and his frivolous sidekick Bonnie (junior Alexandra DeAngelis) to take on the identity of “Public enemey number 1,” Snake Eyes Johnson.

In the second scene of act one, news of a criminal’s presence, specifically Snake Eye Johnson’s, on board permeates the ship.  At this point Crocker is forced to re-disguise himself in order to escape imprisonment and remain with the lovely Hope Harcourt.

Also present on the ship is Billy’s friend, part-time evangelist and nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (senior Megan Poulos) accompanied by her group of angels, or rather, “angels.”  Seeing that Sir Oakleigh is taking up his time with Hope, Crocker asks Sweeney to distract the man.  What begins as a series of failed seductions ends in a striking romance between Oakleigh and Sweeney.

In the second scene of act two, Crocker and Martin’s true identities are discovered. They are then arrested and detained inside the ship.  Upon learning of the impending wedding between Harcourt and Oakleigh, Billy convinces Moonface Martin to escape their cell and halt the ceremony.

From the onset of the first scene, Crocker appears to be a well-intentioned yet idealistic man.  Stopford’s performance as a lovesick young man contains elements of wit and playfulness that kept the audience smiling.

“I like to think of Billy as a very traditional leading male,” said Stopford.  “His intentions are very honest and relatable, even if he goes to great.”

Crocker’s playful but caring personality works well with Hope’s strong but romantic one. Calderwood’s acting, combined with her strong voice, truly captured the sophistication, independence, and loveliness of her character.

“I developed my character by really trying to embrace the essence of the thirties,” said Calderwood.  “I prepared for my role by trying to become more graceful.  The thing that was hardest was trying to break out of my acting habit of ‘Barbie hands’ and make my physicality like that of an ingénue.”

Nanda and Fishman’s comedic performances rocked the boat with laughter. It would be disrespectful to describe Nanda’s performance as simply funny.  It was much more than that. By adding quirky body and facial gestures, Nanda brought to life the socially awkward yet lovable character.  Simply said, the audience “had hot pants” for the performance.

“What’s goin’ on here?”  This is what’s going on: Fishman must be a member of the Mafia. How else could he superbly execute the role of Moonface Martin?  His nonchalant gestures and Brooklyn gangster accent did not waver, even during musical numbers.

The highlight of the show was Poulos’ performance.  Her sass-filled acting, strong professional singing, and smooth dancing carried the show.  As one of the strongest performers, Poulos entranced the audience, whose silence was punctuated only by the occasional shiver and wonder-filled gasp.

The leading performers were not the only exquisite part of the play.  The entire ensemble wowed the audience with complex tap dancing, singing, and enough swaying to tip a ship over.  The coordination of choreography in the scenes, especially those featuring the Angels, were both impressive and eye-catching.  The dedication and time put into the show was clear as day.

“Everyone really did a fantastic job,” said senior Kim Winter.  “All the actors added so much flavor and humor to the script.  It was very fun and all the songs really showcased the incredible talent of all the actors.”

“It’s definitely come a long way, as any show does,” said senior and pit member Andrew Costenoble.  “The difference between the first and last rehearsal is unbelievable.  The cast is amazing, the crew’s on point, and it’s just great.”

Although the main leads were senior-heavy, the supporting junior actors held their own.  For many seniors, this show should be worthy of a last performance on the Schreiber stage.

“Being in the show as a senior really gave me a sense of true leadership,” said Calderwood.  “I got to be an example for all the younger kids and even more than that, I got to be their friend.  But also, it was so emotional.”

“There are no words for me to describe the show,” said Waldman, who played an angel.  “I know what people think of the theatre kids, but honestly, this cast is a family, and this show is fantastic.  We have accomplished so much by putting on this completely nonsensical musical with beautiful music and crazy dancing.  This experience will stay with me long past high school.”

In the midst of the recent snows, as the blistering wind blows, one show warmed up the rows; everyone knows it’s Anything Goes.