BWW Review: ANYTHING GOES at Sharon Playhouse

BWW Review: ANYTHING GOES at Sharon Playhouse

On Saturday, June 23, I had the pleasure of my first experience at the Sharon Playhouse, in Sharon, CT, a theater I had not previously heard of, in a town that I had not previously heard of anywhere. I am delighted to say that hour plus drive each way was well worth it for the first-rate quality performance of Cole Porter's ANYTHING GOES, using the new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. When word gets out about what we can expect from the Sharon Playhouse, I predict that people will come from even further distances than I did.

Director Alan M-L Wager helps bring out amazing talent in this strong cast. The acting, singing, and dancing are all spectacular. Every role from the company to the leads is well played, without exception. The chemistry between the entire cast is spot on, making the dynamics between all the characters seem believable, every line and note being sold both by whoever is delivering them, and by whoever is reacting to them. The entire cast makes it clear that they are having a great time on stage. The frequent applause from the audience shows that the positive energy radiating from the cast on stage gets spread all throughout the theater.

The singers on stage are accompanied by an excellent live seven piece orchestra that is concealed from the audience, backstage, and is conducted by keyboardist Ben Kiley. The sound effects and sound levels are always at the appropriate volume, coordinating the singers with the orchestra. The choreography by Justin Boccitto includes moments of multiple simultaneous tap dancers, with incredible accuracy in their synchronization, as is the cast in the other group dance moments.

The show starts with the action taking place on stage, in front of the closed front curtain. When that curtain opens up, the set, designed by Jason Myron Wright, is so breathtaking that the audience applauded just seeing it. The set depicts the inside of a huge ship, with doors leading to various cabins within, windows behind illuminated by various colored lights throughout the show.

I view Billy (Caleb Albert), as the central protagonist. He is a man who believes himself to be in love with a woman named Hope (Amara Haaksman) who he soon finds out is engaged to another man, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Edward Miskie). Billy's boss Elisha (Bill Morris) has told Billy to sell some of his (Elisha's) stock, but Billy gets distracted and ends up on the ship, along with Reno (Amanda Lea LaVergne) who initially had unrequited love for Billy, but was willing to graciously accept that he was in love with someone else, and even tried to be helpful in getting Billy and Hope together. After inadvertently helping Moonface Martin (Paul Kreppel) and Erma (Seana Nicol), Billy would soon be mistaken by the Captain (David Fanning) as being Snake Eyes Johnson, who was public enemy number one. Well delivered comedy ensues, through lines, lyrics, and action. A live dog named Cheeky (Mallie LaVergne), who makes several appearances on stage, also enhances the quality of the performance, adding an exciting element of unpredictability.

Will Billy end up with Hope? Will Billy lose out on Hope, but then fall for Reno? Will Billy lose out on both Hope and Reno? Will Billy decide to pursue Erma instead, after meeting her? Will there be someone else entirely for Billy to fall for? What other romance may be brewing on the boat? Come to the show to find out.

I highly recommend ANYTHING GOES, which is scheduled to continue to run at the Sharon Playhouse through July 1. For times and tickets, please go to https://www.sharonplayhouse.org/. I look forward to seeing more shows at the Sharon Playhouse, a theater that has set the bar high in their season opener.

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From This Author Sean Fallon

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