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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Musical "ANYTHING GOES" at The 5th Avenue Theatre is Pure Delight— a review

Rachel York and Company in Roundabout Theater Company's Anything Goes.
Credit Joan Marcus
Whenever I start feeling like the world is doomed, nothing yanks me out of a funk faster than the irresistible rhythms of tap shoes, the color, flash, and energy of a fine chorus of dancers on a hot tune, or their swirl and sway on a sentimental ballad. Package all that with fine voices singing Cole Porter’s classics of the Great American Songbook with the backing of an outstanding orchestra, plus some knock out stage sets, and you’ll forget all your cares. Such was my evening at the press opening of Anything Goes at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle last Thursday night.

Rachel York and Company in Roundabout Theater Company's Anything Goes.
Credit Joan Marcus
What a treat it is to have Roundabout Theatre Company’s tour of this Broadway revival come to town.  If you want to spend an afternoon or evening experiencing total escapism, fun, and happiness, get your tickets now while you can. Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays, closing on November 3, 2013. You will quickly see why this musical won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, who won the 2011 Toney Award for Best Choreography.

Enjoy the crazy shenanigans, mix-ups, and mistaken identities of an interesting mix of folks aboard an ocean liner in the 1930s. It might be the middle of the Great Depression, but no one can be depressed for long on this trip with all the romantic intrigue, humor, historically accurate costumes, and song and dance.  Smile, reminisce, and laugh your head off as the action takes place in gorgeous stage settings. Rediscover tunes so great they’ve withstood the decades. In addition to the theme song, “Anything Goes,” you’ll hear:

I Get a Kick Out of You
It’s De-Lovely
Blow, Gabriel, Blow
Easy to Love
The Gypsy in Me
Erich Bergen and Rachel York in Roundabout Theater Company's Anything Goes.
Credit Joan Marcus
The vivacious Rachel York, as Reno Sweeny, is the sparkling diamond in this setting. Her voice, style, and dancing ability are unsurpassed. Other gems surround her. Josh Franklin in the lead male role of Billy Crocker (even though these press photos show Erich Bergen) was fabulous, contributing his powerful voice, great acting, and dancing skills to the this show's success. Fred Applegate charmed us as the lovable gangster Moonface Martin. Dennis Kelly was hilarious as the Wall Street tycoon Elisha Whitney. Alex Finke made a lovely debutante Hope Harcourt, with the talented Sandra Shipley as her mother,  and Joey Sorge as Hope’s fiancé, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh offered laughs and a surprises when his true self emerged.

Alex Finke and Erich Bergen  in Roundabout Theater Company's Anything Goes.
Credit Joan Marcus

While Billy and Hope provide moments of elegance and grace, dancing to “It’s De-Lovely,” Lord Evelyn and Reno heat things up with their rendition of “The Gypsy in Me.” One of my favorites, however, was the tune “Friendship,” where Reno and Moonface Martin, exchange looks, pokes, and hip bumps to the hilarious lyrics.

If I could lump all my praise into the form of a pie, I’d be serving a huge slice to The 5th Avenue’s own amazing orchestra, conducted this time by Jay Alger. The popular music of the 1930s is a big part of my life and they totally nailed it, getting just the right sound, style and authentic period arrangements. Many of great Seattle's finest musicians occupy that orchestra pit and I say, "Congratulations to these hometown heroes!"

I always enjoy myself at The 5th Avenue, but I give this show a rating of five especially bright stars. Go see it!

The 5th Avenue Theatre is located at 1308 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
Box office phone: (206) 625-1900  Online box office

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