Monday, June 19, 2017

'Anything Goes' Now Playing at UTK Carousel Theater--A Review

Chevy Anz and cast perform "Blow Gabriel Blow" in TVP's "Anything Goes"

The Tennessee Valley Players (TVP) are performing the classic Cole Porter musical "Anything Goes" at UT Knoxville's Carousel Theatre this week starring Chevy Anz as Reno Sweeney with Hannah Brown as Hope Harcourt and Tyler Padgett as Billy Crocker.

The musical comedy is directed by Edmund Bolt whose wife Susan stars as Evangeline Harcourt.


Anything Goes Plot

The play follows the tale of Billy Crocker, who stows away on a cruise ship to try to woo his memorable one-night-stand lover, Hope Harcourt. Meanwhile, former evangelist turned night-club-singer, Reno Sweeney has eyes for Billy and thinks the much-younger Billy loves her.


Compounding the plot are two would-be criminals, Moonface Martin (Jack Francis) and his sidekick Erma (Roxanne Cabrera) who sneak onto the boat in disguise. Moonface, Erma and eventually Reno all conspire to help Billy win Hope away from her older, wealthy English fiancé, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Kevin Smathers).


Anything Goes Songs

Full of popular musical staples like "I Get A Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," "It's DeLovely," and "Anything Goes," the play has enough big numbers to keep the audience tapping their toes to the familiar Cole Porter lyrics and melodies, anticipating the next song. With the musical talents of opera students and veteran performers like Chevy Anz, the TVP version is definitely easy to listen to.


The set looked a little rickety and the dancing sometimes left something to be desired, but the costuming was eye catching enough to hold the attention and the performances of some of the cast were noteworthy. 


Cast Members Worth Noting

Standouts included lead Chevy Anz who made a believable Reno--the bawdy showgirl with a heart of gold, Jack Francis as the frustrated and apparently almost harmless gangster Moonface Martin, and Roxanne Cabrera who stole any scene she was in as the flighty, flirty, braying gangster's moll, Erma.


The plot is somewhat mature and moderately anti-religion/anti-Christian* and was considered risqué when the musical premiered in 1934 but is fairly tame in light of 21st-century entertainment


The second week of "Anything Goes" runs June 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 3:00 pm at the Ula Love Doughty Carousel Theatre at University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 


*( i.e. evangelist turned night-club singer, bawdy references to angels, two "padres" on the ship both less-than-savory characters, burlesque "revival" service, etc.) 

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