The adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” came to mind while witnessing antics in the 1962 version of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” at CPCC Summer Theatre. If there is one aggregation of characters that persuades you never to give up on your heart’s desire, this could be it.
Characters work tirelessly to convince others of different things. From estranged lovers to Public Enemies numbers 1 and 13 to a nightclub singer nabbing the affection of a wealthy English businessman, this production has not one dull moment.
The S.S. American cruise ship’s manifest includes well-traveled but boring Bishop Henry Dobson (George Spelvin), with two mute Chinese men in tow; famous nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Ashtyn Hutchings) and her four synchronized Angels; Elisha Whitney (Rob Addison), the Wall Street investor; his continuously fired and rehired assistant Billy Crocker (Matthew Blake Johnson), who lands on the ship by mistake but stows away on purpose; Billy's estranged lover of 12 hours, Hope Harcourt (Kylee Verhoff); her new British fiancé, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Ashton Guthrie); and Hope’s money-hungry mother (Megan Postle), who wants nothing more than to quickly marry off her daughter.
While legitimate passengers to London settle in, Moonface Martin (Jacob Estes), also known as Public Enemy #13, and his gal Bonnie LeTour (Kelly Kohlman) sneak onto the ship as a minister and a missionary, leaving behind their ring leader, Snake Eyes Johnson/Public Enemy #1, without his passport. Shenanigans follow.
Between capers, familiar tunes such as “It’s De-lovely,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and the title song are performed with energy and enthusiasm. Microphone mishaps, though noticeable, didn’t interfere with Hutchings’ perfect vibrato or any other singers.
The full company took part in “Bon Voyage,” with tap shoes clicking in synch and arms flailing rhythmically. The sailors were eerily all the same height; almost all the females in the cast had identical hairstyles of different hues, except for a slick red mane on Bonnie that gave her a Betty Boop appearance.
For the duration of the voyage, the passengers all filed in and out of the same few doors; those initially appeared to be individual cabins on the two-story, all-white vessel, which was a bit confusing.
The doors extended to reveal diminutive sleeping quarters for oversized passengers, which could be converted into a stately dining room for guests to congregate in or a small jail cell for four criminals to share. Designer Robert Croghan created a masterpiece of a vessel that could be restyled quickly, which made for smooth scene transitions.
CPCC Summer Theatre does Cole Porter’s musical about romantic shenanigans involving a stowaway on a ship, a night club singer, Public Enemy #13, an heiress and many others.
WHEN: Through June 27 at 7 p.m. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Halton Theater, 1206 Elizabeth Ave.
TICKETS: $18-22 ($10 ages 15 and under).