Anything Goes, written in 1934 and featuring the work of composer Cole Porter, may be a cookie cutter musical comedy, but the brilliant staging at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in downtown Arlington Heights is anything but routine.
Reno Sweeney, a popular nightclub entertainer, is in love with Wall Street broker Billy Crocker. Billy is in love with socialite Hope Harcourt. However, Hope is engaged to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. Put them all together, along with a colorful cast of unique supporting characters, in the confines of a luxury cruise ship sailing from New York to London, and you have the plot for Anything Goes.
The Metropolis production runs through November 2, and features an excellent cast of singers and dancers bringing Anything Goes to life under the skillful direction of Robin M. Hughes.
In the central role of Reno, this mounting features a bonafide star-in-the-making in the form of Kaity Paschetto. The triple threat actress commands the stage from her first entrance as a sultry Jessica Rabbit come to life.
Matching Paschetto in talent and charisma is leading man Justice Good who plays love struck Billy Crocker to perfection. Good’s comic timing is impeccable as he takes his character from one absurd situation to the next, without ever losing his boy-next-door charm.
Brandy Miller does a fine job as Billy’s love interest Hope, while Connor Murray is a scene stealer as hopelessly awkward Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.
One interesting thing about the director Hughes’ Anything Goes is that some of the actors provide very believable characters with foundations in reality, while others among the cast give their characters overly exaggerated accents, expressions, and deliveries. Combining the two types of characterizations in a single show doesn’t always work. However, in this case, it works well.
Among the supporting characters, Mark Pontarelli is a delight as not so wanted Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin; Jim Heatherly gives old school charm to the role of Billy’s half-blind, love struck boss Elisha Whitney; and Maddie Dorsey gives us a sexually charged Erma Latour, a dubious associate of Moonface.
Also worth noting are the talents of Reno’s backup performers, referred to as her “Angels”. They are Anastasia Arnold, Jordan Beyeler, Jessica Miret Garcia, and Sara Haverty. Each of them brings beauty, an angelic voice, and precision dance skills to their roles.
In fact, the song and dance numbers are the meat of what makes Metropolis’ Anything Goes such an enjoyable piece of entertainment. While all of her choreography is eye-catching and entertaining, choreographer Christie Kerr has her dancers at their best in the big tap numbers that bring down the house. As both music director and conductor, Kenneth McMullen shows off a seasoned talent for blending diverse voices with the flawless off-stage orchestra.
Anything Goes is considered a Broadway classic, and the Metropolis staging demonstrates why.
Anything Goes sets sail Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 3 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 3 PM. Metropolis is located in the heart of Chicago’s northwest suburbs in downtown Arlington Heights. There is free on-street and garage parking.
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at MetropolisArts.com or by calling the Box Office at (847) 577-2121.