Dancing, singing and wisecracking all the way, the cast of "Anything Goes" served up a deliciously entertaining Encore presentation Thursday evening.
Set on a luxury liner in the 1930s, the show, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, captured the essence of the feel-good musicals of that era. Cole Porter's music, performed with polish and pizazz, took the audience back to a time when star-crossed lovers always prevailed. The set, with its backdrop of an imposing art deco ship, complete with maneuverable cabins, provided a classy receptacle for the "de-lovely" show.
Stowing away on an ocean liner, Billy Crocker (Brian Krinsky) hoped to win the love of his life, Hope Harcourt (Tracy Bidleman). Though misunderstandings and mayhem drove true love off-course throughout the entire comedy, disguises and deceptions helped mend all plot snags.
Reno Sweeney (Emma Stratton) was electrifying as an evangelist-turned-nightclub singer. In "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," and the title song, "Anything Goes," Stratton's dynamic voice and boundless energy lit up the stage. In fact, Stratton even seemed to elevate the performances of her fellow actors when she joined them in song, dance and dialogue.
The spectacularly staged musical numbers elicited wholehearted applause from the Hays audience. Choreography was seamless and, well, just way too much fun to watch.
Interspersed with silliness and snappy one-liners, subplots weaving throughout the show took on a life of their own. Public enemy No. 13, Moonface Martin (Dennis Setteducati) and his friend, Erma (Mychal Phillips), helped stir the plot and brought illegal and morally suspect action to the story. Setteducati was a lovable and misunderstood gangster with a tender side. Phillips was delightfully campy as she cavorted about the ship with a quartet of sailors.
In a charmingly goofy tango, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Richard Lindenfelzer), although engaged to Hope, unveiled his secret love for Sweeney.
It was a comic race to the happy ending, with Krinsky and Stratton leading the cast to an exuberant plot resolution and thunderous curtain call.
Tickets are on sale now for Encore's next big thing: Rockapella, slated for Dec. 3. Advertised as a "five-man powerhouse of vocal talent," Rockapella promises to be a show Hays Encore enthusiasts will not want to miss.
Dawne Leiker is a frequent contributor to
The Hays Daily News.