Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 08th
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, 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


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

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


Red Scars

Mao’s politics made personal in poignant Chinese family drama ‘Coming Home’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist