|Mingus stages Cole Porter musical|
|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 31 March 2011 12:00|
The triple threats in Mingus Union High School’s production of “Anything Goes” outnumber the surprises, but not by much.
During dress rehearsal Wednesday, March 23, cast members proved they can act, dance and sing like the pros, but the biggest surprise might be how lines penned more than 70 years ago still get laughs. The music is timeless, by the way.
A Broadway smash in 1934, “Anything Goes” still pops. “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “It’s Delightful,” “You’re the Top,” and the title song, “Anything Goes,” might inspire an audience sing-along when the play opens Friday, April 1. People of a certain age are sure to recognize the repertoire of fun and memorable tunes.
The play follows an eclectic group of ocean liner passengers on their journey from New York to London.
An evangelist nightclub singer, society debutante, English gentleman and wanted gangster are the source of many belly laughs when good men are mistaken for criminals and young lovers surmount nearly every obstacle to be together.
Billy Crocker and Reno Sweeney, played by Dylan Power and Ashley Knister, delight with songs by Cole Porter and tap dancing choreographed by Francine Leroy. Yes, there’s tap dancing — and plenty of it.
Power, the production’s lanky leading man, sings and dances with savoir faire that recalls a young Fred Astaire. Knister, its brassy leading woman, picks up where Ethel Merman left off when the show opened as an antidote to the Great Depression.
Kimberly Clements shines in her acting debut as Hope Harcourt, Crocker’s love interest. She hits all the right notes with a strong, clear voice that charms, especially when singing a romantic duet with her leading man.
Charlie Heath as Moonface Martin and Britney Lawler as Bonnie, Moonface’s moll, raise the bar for comedy, with able support from Zach Romfo, who plays an English twit named Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, Hope’s betrothed.
Lawler masters the comedy and pathos in her performance of “Where Are the Men?” while Romfo, in boxer briefs and a sheer T-shirt, struts with equal measures of confidence and confusion as the dense Englishman trying to decipher the American dialect.
Tall and stately, Jessica Reinhart plays the Harcourt matriarch, Mrs. Wadsworth. She makes the most of stunning period gowns and a mix of detachment and high society bluster Grouch Marx foil Margaret Dumont would applaud.
The cast of 28, crew of 31 and pit orchestra consisting of 14 MUHS students and seven professional musicians turn out an inspired show that is sure to please.