|Andrew Ceglio (L) and Briana Michaud rock the boat|
Time is running out to catch up with Cabrillo Stage's excellent production of Anything Goes at the Crocker Theater. Only five more shows are scheduled for this absolutely fabulous all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza; some happy exiting theater patrons at last night's performance (okay, it was Art Boy) were heard to utter that this is the best musical production CS has ever mounted.
High praise indeed, and well-deserved. Everything works in this energetic production. Songs? An entire score of Cole Porter classics, from "I Get A Kick Out of You", "You're the Top," "It's De-Lovely," "Friendship", and, of course, the sly title tune.
Style? To die for. The lighter-than-air story takes place on an ocean liner ca. 1934 (when the show was originally produced on Broadway), and Skip Epperson and his design team have created a fantasia of Art Deco delight, from the image of a ship on a foaming sea painted on the scrim downstage to the split-level deck and staterooms on board; even the jail bars in the brig have a Deco-Moderne design. Costumer Maria Crush's wardrobe of gowns, tuxes, showgirl costumes, sailor suits, and satiny tap-pants add another layer of Deco gorgeousness.
Performers? Outstanding. As sassy nightclub hostess Reno Sweeney, the centerpiece of the show, Briana Michaud brings down the house—over and over again. Basically, every time she appears onstage, it's a showstopper. Michaud has a great big, vibrant voice, an easy, earthy style onstage, and she dances up a storm. Reno Sweeney was an early starmaking role for Ethel Merman; Michaud's voice is almost as big, but much more musical, pliable and interesting.
Andrew Ceglio, CS's one-man secret weapon, notches up another terific turn as Billy Crocker, the impromptu stowaway trying to get the girl. He sings, he dances, he mugs like a pro, and he's a pleasure to watch throughout. His duet with Michaud on "You're the Top" is irresistible. Kudos as well to Max Bennett-Parker as affable gangster Moonface Martin, an endearing Robert Coverdell as a goofy young British aristocrat (studying the arcana of American English idioms like Margaret Mead among the Samoans), and Anethra Moura as a cheeky gangster's moll.
And the dancing? In a word: OMG. Director and choreographer Kikau Alvaro has the company dancing through every singe number, whether duets, quartets, or ensembles, and never more impressively than in massive production number for "Anything Goes" at the end of Act 1. It's a synchronized tap extravaganza for the entire company, performed on every level of the stage, and it's just astoundingly great! It is, by far, the single most virtuoso production number in the history of Cabrillo Stage.
Anything Goes will only play five more shows, through Sunday, August 19, so don't you dare miss it! Call (831) 479-6154, or visit Cabrillo Stage online for tickets.
Why are you still sitting there?