Review Roundup: Corbin Bleu Stars in ANYTHING GOES at Arena Stage

Review Roundup: Corbin Bleu Stars in ANYTHING GOES at Arena StageArena Stage presents Corbin Bleu (Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical; In the Heights; Disney Channel's High School Musical) as Billy Crocker and Soara-Joye Ross (Les Misérables, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess National Tour) as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter's madcap seafaring musical, Anything Goes. Check out Corbin in photos from the shoe below!

Featuring some of musical theater's most memorable standards such as "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top" and the title song, Anything Goes is directed by Molly Smith, with choreography by Parker Esse and music direction by Paul Sportelli, and will run through December 23, 2018 in the Fichandler Stage.

Tickets for Anything Goes are $40-105, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.

Let's see what the critics have to say!

Nelson Pressley, Washington Post: Ken MacDonald's set on the in-the-round Fichandler Stage features a small unit occasionally popping up from the floor - ship's cabins, a brig, a platform lifting Reno to starry heights as numbers swell. As the antic gangster Moonface Martin, Stephen DeRosa even jokes about the nautical railings toted on and off between scenes, firmly lodging his elbow in the audience's ribs. The performance isn't really that loose - the disguises, double-crosses and wisecracking can be awfully hard-working as the high jinks wind past two and a half hours - but DeRosa's in high second-banana mode, and his caffeinated clowning has spunk.

Bob Ashby, DC Metro Theater Arts: Alejo Vietti's costumes would do credit to the best of 1930s-'40s Hollywood. Reno appears in one sumptuous, differently colored gown after another, perfectly fitted to how she moves, as well as a natty sailor outfit for the "Anything Goes" number. Hope's dresses are elegant, using light, flowing material, befitting the wealthy but rather innocent debutante she is. Vietti gives Hope's gold-digging mother (Lisa Tejero) outfits of the sort Margaret Dumont might wear in a Marx Brothers movie. The "angels" have long white, nearly backless, gowns at first; get sailor-like garb for "Anything Goes;" and start "Blow Gabriel Blow" in sexy choir robes, then making a mid-dance costume change that wowed the audience. The show looks gorgeous, and the costume construction beautifully abets the cast's movement.

Jenny Minich, BroadwayWorld: This production of Anything Goes is theatre in the round, and Director Molly Smith and Set Designer Ken MacDonald use movable set pieces to ensure adequate space for large ensemble dance numbers. This production achieves the big Broadway musical wow-factor with the use of moveable staircases and a motorized stage lift create levels (atop which Ross reigns supreme).

Andre Hereford, Metro Weekly: Offering a tight rendition of the revised book written for the '87 Broadway revival, Anything Goes mixes the screwball element of mistaken and assumed identities with a sensual, modern sensibility. The slapstick might go overboard with a few of the passengers on the American - namely gangster Moonface Martin (Stephen DeRosa) and his moll Erma (Maria Rizzo) - but the ease of most everything else reins in the excess.

Triatan Lejeune, Brightest Young Things: The eponymous song is the show-stopper, but particular delight can be found in "You're the Top," Billy and Reno's "just friends" duet of rhyming couplets. The whole cast is top drawer, but Bleu and Ross hold the stage in all of their scenes, a wonderful pair of triple-threats (and that's, like, a half dozen threats just between the two of them).

Roy Maurer, DC Theatre Scene: In other words, it's worth sitting through the rapid-fire succession of groanworthy shenanigans to hear Bleu's dulcet renditions of "It's De-lovely" and "Easy to Love," and witness Ross lead the company in the spectacularly zesty set pieces "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "Anything Goes." In fact, the title song, performed as a tap dance show-stopper at the close of Act 1, brought the audience to its feet for a standing ovation before the final note had been sung, and the entire crowd was upright, clapping and only about midway through a genuine applause as the house went dark. By the time the audience returns from intermission, expectations have been set: we're to wait in the dark, ducking and dodging the corn and cheese in anticipation of the song-and-dance payoff. Act II does not disappoint, as the plot becomes more filler and the show soars to its conclusion with the froth and sparkle of a holiday concoction from Starbucks.

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