Big Fun and a Classic Musical Production Sail into Pittsburgh with CLO’s ‘Anything Goes’


Nowadays, it seems that whenever you turn on the TV, open up social media, or read the news; you are apt to find more negativity or bad news than good news. In these times, we must remember that entertainment can offer a sense of escapism. A place where we can go and immerse ourselves in a story with characters to forget about whatever is happening on the other side of the theater doors. 

Pittsburgh CLO kicks off its 77th summer season with the perfect classic, feel-good entertaining musical. Cole Porter’s classic, Anything Goesruns at the Benedum Center June 13-18th and provides family-friendly entertainment with iconic music, comedy, and just plain fun.

Director Ameenah Kaplan delivers a traditional rendition of this well-known show. Unlike some directors who have chosen to modernize recent musical revivals, Kaplan takes a purist, timeless approach to this production and does not skimp on any element, from the overture to the intricate company dance numbers throughout the show. Scenic designer Tony Ferrieri helps audiences sail away on an impressive two-tiered boat that spans the entire width of the stage. As audiences set sail, they meet the beloved, timeless characters Reno Sweeny (Rashidra Scott), Hope Harcourt (Liz Leclerc), Billy Crocker (A.J. Shively), and Moonface Martin (Jeffrey Howell). Together, these characters find themselves in trouble and turmoil and fall into humorous antics as they sail the Atlantic. Love triangles run amuck as Billy loves Hope, but she is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakley (Geoff Packard), and Reno is trying to find her one true love. With the help of Reno, Moonface Martin, and his sidekick, Erma (Andrea Weinzierl), Billy cons his way onto the ship, and the four plot to disrupt Harcourt’s engagement. 

Audiences get a glimpse into each character’s personality as they grapple with whether to follow their heads or hearts. Unlikely friendships emerge as characters realize they can help each other despite having ideological differences or being from different backgrounds. Well-known songs such as “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “It’s De-Lovely,” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” among others, are performed to perfection and provide a smooth sailing experience. Each main character takes their turn to shine, but Scott, in particular, never misses a note or a step. She plays Sweeny with a depth and complexity that made me feel for her struggle to find love and respect among men and herself. This emotion is palpable yet understated so as not to take away from the up-tempo energy of the show as a whole. 

Mara Newbery Greer’s choreography transports us to an era of the classic Broadway musical with big, show-stopping dance numbers that seamlessly fuse ballroom, tap, and jazz. The company does an extraordinary job of executing the choreography, generating loud cheers from the audience after each number.

Several years ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote an op-ed stating that all theater is political. Of course, Anything Goes is not immune to this sentiment. There’s the glorification of criminals, and Reno discusses what the settlers who came to Plymouth Rock would think of this Anything Goes, laissez-faire societal attitude. However, those nuances are minuscule compared to the Titanic-size fun this show delivers. 

This CLO production is pure escapism, nostalgia, feel-good fun, and entertainment that will wash your cares ashore while you sail along with these wonderful characters. Anything Goes is the perfect way to start your summer. 

Scroll down for more of our coverage of the CLO’s production of Anything Goes and ticketing information


Tickets at https://www.pittsburghclo.org

Please note there will be high demand for parking on Friday and Saturday evenings due to the Taylor Swift Concert at Accenture Stadium; plan on reserving parking and arriving early for Friday and Saturday performances.

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