Review: Stage 62’s production of ‘Anything Goes’

Reviewed by Megan Grabowski

The classic Broadway treasure, Anything Goes, sets sail this weekend. Produced by community theater giant Stage 62, the opening night performance has left little room for improvement. With music and lyrics by one of the 20th century’s most notable and popular composers, Cole Porter, this prolific production can’t possibly disappoint.

Adapted from the 1987 Broadway revival, Stage 62 captures the essence of ‘big broadway’ on a small stage. Anything Goes is filled with witty one-liners, a jazzy score, big dance numbers, and a madcap plot, including blackmail and romantic gusto. The show checks off all the components that create a gratifying musical.

On board the S. S. American sailing from NY to London is a boatload of characters:

  • The lonely heart bachelor Elisha Whitney (Shawn Spragg) a Yale-educated and successful Wall Street banker.
  • Reno Sweeney (Cara McClaine), the brassy night- club singer with her four angels, Charity (Ivy Ferris), Chastity (Cristy Crawshaw), Virtue (Isabel Ganovsky), and Purity (Mikaela Kapeluck). 
  • Stow-away Billy Crocker (George Heigel) is hopelessly in love with Hope Harcort (Audrey Logan). She is sailing with her fiance, the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Nicholas Franczak). 
  • Gangster and public enemy #13, Moonface Martin (Jeff Way) and his trusty side-kick Erma (Megan Henderson). 
  • An ensemble of supporting characters, including sailors and star-struck passengers, round out the cast.

It’s smooth sailing from Act 1’s opening number as McClain’s velvety vocals caress the audiences’ ears in, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, followed by the full cast musical number, “Bon Voyage”, Heigel’s charming rendition of “Easy to Love” and closing with the acclaimed vivacious song and dance number, “Anything Goes.”

First-class flair and energy flow into Act 2, evident through the exhibition of Carly Fuller and Michael Van Newkirk ‘s choreography in “Blow, Gabriel Blow.” Logan reveals the depth of her musical capabilities in the ballad “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye.”

Aside from the performers’ talents, I have to mention the set by Andy Folmer. A colossal ship, deck, and staterooms have been constructed and combined with many props adding a polished aesthetic to the whole show. 

Pondering the performance hours after the curtain closed led me to truly appreciate this gorgeous arrangement and Carly Fuller and Michael Van Newkirk’s directorial skill required to guide the cast in movement without hindrance, even during the numbers when all 35 cast members were on stage at one time. 

Also, my review of a Stage 62 production would not be complete without a nod to the orchestra, and Music Director George Milosh, who always does an incredible job.

If you are headed out to see Anything Goes, take note that performances are held at the Carlynton Jr/ Sr High Auditorium located at 435 Kings Highway Carnegie, PA 15106. Masks are required for all audience members. Anything Goes runs July 22- 31, Friday & Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, plus an additional 2pm performance added to Saturday July 30th. Tickets at https://www.purplepass.com/#237500/Stage_62-Anything_Goes-Carlynton_Jr/Sr_High_School-July-22-2022.html

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