I see a lot of musicals, and this week, many of the old ones, the classics, one might say, thank heaven! While I enjoy the new style of writing and even some of the “louder” music, there is nothing like a “South Pacific” or a “Pal Joey” or of course, a true classic, “Anything Goes”, now on the stage of The Cadillac Palace Theatre as part of this season’s Broadway In Chicago series. Just think, this is a 1934 musical over 70 years ago, and the songs in this play are just as vibrant today as they were back then. With music and Lyrics by Cole Porter and a book ( original) by P.G.Wodehouse & Guy Bolton, with Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, this was a sure hit. For its revival, Timothy Crouse and John Weideman made some modifications, but this play, despite a silly story, is designed to bring pleasure to your eyes and ears and a big smile to your face. You will also feel like you want to dance out of the theater, your spirits will be so high!
The story is about lovers, liars, clowns and desperation as the S.S. American cruise liner sets out to sea. The set is huge but does resemble a ship with its three decks and when they do stateroom scenes, the boxes representing the rooms roll in, but who cares about this and that the crew is made up of sailors ( who appear to be in military garb)- the stage is filled with solid talent and Kathleen Marshall’s direction and choreography makes this two and a half hours of magical theater flow as if the time stood still. Just to give you an idea about the songbook in this show:
“I Get A Kick Out of You”-“You’re The Top”- “Easy To Love”- “Friendship” -“It’s De-Lovely” – “Anything Goes” ( this is a first act finale where Ms Rachel York, truly shows why she has “star power”), BUT wait, there is a second act filled with many more big numbers, including Ms York with the full cast doing “Blow Gabriel, Blow”! talk about a show stopper. This is pure delight for anyone who remembers musical theater the way it was; where words had meaning ( and you could understand them) and the dance numbers inn this show are what we anticipated in musicals of yore.
The cast, in addition to the sultry and beautiful as well as very talented Ms Rockwell includes Fred Applegate as gangster Moonface Martin ( he is a hoot),Josh Franklin as Billy , a lovesick young man who sneaks on the ship to be with the girl he loves, Hope( deftly handled by Alex Finke), who is now engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh ( a nerdy character played to precision by Edward Staudenmayer). Hope’s mother ( Sandra Shipley) wants the marriage because they are close to bankruptcy, but an old flame of hers is also on the ship ,Elisha Whitney ( played fiercly by Chicago’s own Dennis Kelly) who it turns out is quite wealthy and quite lonely!. Another delightful character is Erma ( the highly energetic and quite adorable Joyce Chittick with a very Damon Runyan type of character ; a gangsters’ moll sort- terrific).
These are the main characters; he loves her, she loves him, but is engaged to the other; Mother knows best, or does she and should she marry her daughter off for the money. Part of the plot also deals with the other cruise passengers hoping to spot a celebrity on the cruise. Alas, there is none, but when it is supposed that Billy is a criminal, in fact Public Enemy Number 1, instead of locking him up, they make him the guest of honor at the Captain’s Table- why not? Isn’t Public Enemy Number One, a “celebrity”? As I said at the start, this is not a great book, and the stories contained are a bit inane, but, this is in fact a great theatrical experience as we get to laugh and tap our feet to some of the most entertaining music ever created and a cast that is devoted to our having a blast! Success is theirs, and the rewards are ours! As you can see from the description, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, “Anything Goes”!
However, it only “goes” through May 5th with performances as follows:
Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets range from $27- $95 and are available at all the Broadway In Chicago box offices,by phone at 1-800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and of course, online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com ( where you can also purchase discount parking.
The Cadillac Palace is located at 151 West Randolph Street, between LaSalle and Wells.
To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to review wound-up and click at “Anything Goes”
This being a road company, they will be heading out after the 5th, to see where they are going so you can tell your friends, visit www.anythinggoesthemusical.com