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Riverside Dinner Theater Anything Goes

By • May 16th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Anything Goes
Riverside Dinner Theater
Riverside Dinner Theater, Fredericksburg, VA
Through July 22nd
2:30 with one intermission
$50-$58/$46-$53 Seniors/$40 child/$37 Show Only
Reviewed May 13th, 2012

Anything Goes is a musical featuring the smooth song stylings of Cole Porter. A ship sets sail from the U.S bound for London carries with it a legendary performer and former evangelist, her four “angels,” a public enemy, a Wall Street tycoon and his assistant, an English gentleman and his fiancĂ©e, as well as some eager sailors, passengers, and a couple of Chinese gamblers who all together make for an adventure. And the S.S. American hasn’t even left port!

The cast and crew at the Riverside Dinner Theater put together a fun, entertaining, well-choreographed show. The dancing was quite lively with a lot of enthusiasm and flare.

The star performer was Kathy Halenda as Reno Sweeny, a former evangelist turned nightclub singer. Halenda was relaxed on stage and enjoyed her character very much. Halenda’s character was strong which allowed her to take everything life threw at her in stride and to always seem to come out on top.

Not so much with another passenger, the dashing Billy Crocker, played by Mason Reigh. Reigh’s character had the looks and the smooth talking to convince anyone (including himself) that he could get away with anything and con anyone. But when he tried to pass himself off as Public Enemy # 1, fate finally caught up with him and Billy found himself in the brig, sans the love of his life Hope Harcourt (Brittany Taylor). Reigh has a positive presence on stage and comes across as believable. Taylor, who sees right through Reich’s con artistry, comes to love and him and forgives him his faults. Another character who is a lot of bluster is Moonface Martin, who proudly announces he is public Enemy #13, played by Alex Balian. While choreography may not be his first love, Balian seemed sincere in his character and looked like he was having fun. Moonface’s traveling companion and “inside man” was played by Kimberly F. Knight. Knight was a great Bonnie, full of energy and dedication to Moonface.

Set Designer David P. Stock made the set believable by recreating the traditional multi-leveled platform as the set of the S.S. American. There were a few very creative touches, such as using the portholes as olives in giant martini glasses in the ship’s lounge. Set pieces moved easily and scene changes were smooth. Costume Designer Gaye Law made use of bright colors worn by Reno to create a positive atmosphere. Another joy was the lack of sound issues throughout the performance! Everyone could be heard without crackles and pops that have plagued Riverside for many shows.

Remember: What happens on the S.S. American, stays on the S.S. American. Except for telling your friends to check out this production. It’s a Cole Porter classic not to be missed!

Director’s Notes

Since it’s 1934 debut at the Alvin Theatre (now the Neil Simon Theatre) in New York City, Anything Goes has been one of the oft-revived musicals the world of theatre has known. Full of madcap antics aboard an ocean liner headed for England, the show immerses us in all the things with which we are culturally obsessed: opulence, celebrity, wealth and musical decadence – all brought to you by the incomparable wit of Mr. Cole Porter.

Cole Porter’s goal in constructing this musical was to offer us all a glossy, glitzy and glamorous vehicle for musical escapism. In riding this ocean liner for a couple of hours, audiences are invited to forget their troubles, get happy and realize that what happens on the cruise ship stays on the cruise ship where, truly, Anything Goes.

On a personal note. I’d like to take this space to thank the cast and crew of our show. We’ve had a wonderful journey bringing this ship to port. We hope all of you enjoy the ride!

Justin Amellio

Photo Gallery

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Photos by Riverside Dinner Theater

Cast

  • Elisha J. Whitney: Robert L. Nelson
  • Steward: Michael Colby
  • Reporter: Calvin Register Jr.
  • Cameraman: Ian Stearns
  • Sir Evelyn Oakleigh: Robert Beard
  • Mrs. Wadsworth T. Harcourt: Anne Kight Lloyd
  • Hope Harcourt: Brittany Taylor
  • Bishop Henry T. Dobson: John Maher
  • Reno Sweeny: Kathy Halenda
  • Billy Crocker: Mason Reich
  • Moonface Martin: Alex Balian
  • Ching: Christopher Hlusko
  • Ling: Jonathan Litalien
  • Purser: Adam Workman
  • Bonnie: Kimberly F. Knight
  • Captain: John Maher
  • Chastity: Kylie Clark
  • Purity: Taylor Paige Boyle
  • Virtue: Maggie Wilder
  • Charity: Sally Roehl
  • Ships Crew, Sailors, and Passengers on the S.S. American: Michael R. olby, Mary Anne Furey, Christopher Hlusko, Jonathan Litalien, Calvin Register Jr., Alan Schlichting, Stephanie Smith, Julie Sowers, ian Stearns, Adam Workman

Understudies

  • Reno: Kimberly F. Knight
  • Billy; Adam Workman
  • Hope: Mary Anne Furey
  • Bonnie: Stefanie Smith
  • Elisha: John Hollinger
  • Moonface: Michael R. Colby
  • Ensemble Swings: Jake Cundiff, Kendall Mostafavi, Rachel Shrader, Anthony Williams

Designers/Crew

  • Producer: Rollin E. Wehman
  • Director: Justin Amellio
  • Musical Director: Rollin E. Wehman
  • Production Director and Co-Choreographer: Justin Amellio
  • Choreography by: Penny Ayn Maas
  • Scenic Design by: Matthew P. Westcott
  • Scenic Design: David Paul Stock
  • Costume Design/Coordination: Gaye Law
  • Lighting Design Supervisor: Phil Carlucci
  • Properties Coordination: Kylie Clark
  • Lighting Design by: Nicky Mahon, Justin Looney
  • Production Manager: Carole Shrader
  • Stage Manager: Ben Feindt
  • Associate Artistic Director: Patrick A’Hearn

Disclaimer: Riverside Dinner Theater provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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