Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Sep 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Bon Voyage

ae2Cabrillo Stage hits a homerun with ‘Anything Goes’

There are pros and cons to producing one of Broadway’s most adored musical comedies, littered with hits by one of the most quoted American Songbook composers of the 20th century. Among the pros? Everyone knows the songs. The cons? Everyone knows the songs. Fortunately for Santa Cruz theater fans, Cabrillo Stage deftly avoids the pitfalls of familiarity and presents Cole Porter’s endearing vehicle, “Anything Goes,” to great success.

On opening night, the house lights dim and the overture begins. The majority of the audience is already dancing in their seats as orchestra conductor Jon Nordgren leads the able musical crew through samples of hits to come. The woodwind section is especially delightful—there is no arguing with the charming combination of clarinet and wood block. The music sets the mood, and director/choreographer Kikau Alvaro guides us through witty dialogue and carefree dance steps with a deft hand. Clearly he has a soft spot for this simpler (in hindsight) time. Perhaps because he knows that this show has it all: a trans-Atlantic crossing with a pining putz, an innocent ingénue, a bumbling Brit, ditzy dames, affable gangsters, mistaken identities, jailbirds and a triple wedding. (Is it possible to have a spoiler for a 78-year-old show?)

Once the overture ends, there is a brief moment for the performers to gain the trust of the audience; a window of opportunity to turn ticket-buyers into believers. This duty is handled effortlessly by Briana Michaud as Reno Sweeney (an infamous nightclub evangelist). Within minutes of the opening lines of dialogue, she sweeps us up into “I Get A Kick Out of You,” and we know we’ve booked passage on the right ship. Her magnificent voice and engaging demeanor have us hooked.

ae2-2Andrew Ceglio is a comedic gem as the charming and lovelorn Billy Crocker, with vocal chops to match Michaud. The pair’s duet, “You’re The Top,” is playful, punctuated, and a deserved crowd pleaser. Another notable duet, “Friendship,” again features Michaud, this time with Max Bennett-Parker, delivering effortless comic relief as Moonface Martin (Public Enemy No. 13). The easy give and take, and the impeccable timing of these two is a joy to watch.

The most enjoyable aspect for this face in the dark is the subtle yet inarguable way the vocalists have made Cole Porter’s standards not as standard as we thought. It is a joy to hear these songs re-examined and fully owned by these relatively new voices. Songs that could be sung in our sleep become hits all over again, somehow made fresh without committing the crime of being made modern.

A special nod goes to Robert Coverdell as the lovable, blundering Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, presumed fiancé to the ingénue, Hope Harcourt. During the first act we see hints of his joyful characterization, and the second act delivers the gift of “The Gypsy in Me,” sung perfectly and danced hilariously, with Michaud. You will never see longer limbs and a more meaningful mug combine with such surprising grace and efficiency. Coverdell’s take on Oakleigh is superb.

The simple set design and breezy pales of the costumes’ color palette conjure images of classic travel ads with a hint of Gatsby. The muted light design sets the deck of the U.S. American aglow with romantic washes, including twinkling stars in the night sky. Skip Epperson, Kyle Grant and Maria Crush can count yet another visual success.

The 1934 script by PG Wodehouse and Guy Bolton shows signs of age, in particular the presentation of cartoonish Chinese (and not-so-Chinese) characters, however, some barbs still ring true. The celebrity of and unabashed gushing over assumed gangsters on this Atlantic crossing is still a stinging poke at a culture that awards gold records and fan pages to felons.


‘Anything Goes’ runs July 27-Aug. 19 at Cabrillo Stage’s Crocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. For tickets and show times, visit cabrillostage.com, or call the box office at 479-6154.

Photos: Jana Marcus

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Cabrillo Stage, August 01, 2012
Note to review: Michael McGushin is the Music Director for Anything Goes, but Jon Nordgren conducts the orchestra.

Thank you!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.