Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Directors/Set Designers: Lauren and Jason Morgan
Choreographer: Monica Glenn
Asst. Director: Alfredo Tamayo
Stage Manager: Lauren Garza
Costume Designer: Lauren Morgan
Light Designer: Julien Makoutz
Sound and Props Designer: Jennifer Stewart
Rebecca Luby – Reno Sweeny
Robert Mata – Billy Crocker
Emily Emmett – Hope Harcourt
Gary E. Payne – Moonface Martin
Jessica Peterson – Bonnie
Nolan Shaver – Sir Evelyn Oakleigh
Rose Anne Holman – Mrs. Wadsworth T. Harcourt
Chris D’Auria – Bishop Henry T. Dobson
Stephen Wykle – Captain
Callie Cunningham – Chastity
Haylee Weatherly – Purity
Adelina Clamser – Virtue
Chanie Thomas – Charity
Jason Morgan – Elisha J. Whitney
Male Ensemble – Chris D’Auria, Andrew Brown, Ethan Makoutz and Coy Rubalcaba
Female Ensemble – Lynsey Hale, Stefanie Glenn, Saffron Makoutz and Catie Wilkerson
Reviewed Performance: 8/17/2019
Reviewed by Jeri Tellez, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
This classic American musical has been a fan favorite since it opened at the Alvin Theatre on November 21, 1934. With the music of Cole Porter, and the collaboration of the famous playwriting pair Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, it turned out to be the fourth longest running musical of the 1930s. Lauren and Jason Morgan brought this show to life wonderfully, using every inch of the small stage of the Sanders Theater. Their combination of set design and blocking took the audience seamlessly to various locations.
As Reno Sweeny, Rebecca Luby was excellent. Her singing was strong, her range of emotion was diverse, and her dancing seemed effortless. She interacted well with both Robert Mata (Billy) and Nolan Shaver (Sir Evelyn), and was both charismatic and charming.
Billy Crocker, portrayed by Mata, was delightfully humorous. His various disguises were interesting to watch, even though it was sometimes difficult to believe that he was not recognized. Although his methods were at times questionable, his efforts to win Hope back were amusing and touching.
Hope Harcourt, played by Emily Emmett, was a beautiful debutante headed toward a loveless arranged marriage. She was sympathetic, with high morals, but was obviously in love with Billy, in spite of his shenanigans.
Gary E. Payne and Jessica Peterson, as Moonface Martin and Bonnie, respectively, were a pair that was fun to watch. Both came across as being rather dense, which I believe was an intentional character choice. It was perfect.
Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, portrayed by Nolan Shaver, was a pleasantly stuffy Brit, who valued commitment over self-satisfaction. This would have led to undesirable consequences, were it not for Billy’s aforementioned shenanigans.
As the stuffy upper-class Mrs. Harcourt, Rose Anne Holman was divine. She did show just enough emotion to not be stoic, and was both ignorant of and irritated by Billy’s tricks.
Lauren and Jason Morgan’s set was simple yet effective. Two large moving pieces were used efficiently, taking the audience from the deck of the ship to various rooms within. I was a bit disappointed that the upstage “doors” weren’t functional, but the blocking flowed smoothly without them.
Lauren Morgan’s costumes were lovely. Each character looked appropriate for the part and, as far as my untrained eye could tell, was dressed appropriately in the style of the early 20th century. Jennifer Stewart’s minimal props were appropriate and effective. I believe any more effort put into the props would have been wasted, as their simplicity worked very well.
Julian Makoutz’s lighting design was well done, with no noticeable shadows. The few times I noticed the lights changing, they seemed very appropriate and added to the scene. The sound design by Jennifer Stewart was fitting, with no obvious holes or unnecessary distractions. I was disappointed with the lack of intermission music, but it didn’t harm the beauty of the presentation.
Monica Glenn’s choreography was fitting for the setting of the show, even though execution was lacking. More attention could have been paid to uniformity among the company during the larger dance numbers. It was a bit sloppy.
The uncredited music director did a nice job preparing the company vocally, as the parts were well-balanced. The music was victim to a problem common in small theaters, which is that solos were hard to hear during the big production numbers. In order for the company to hear the music, it had to be loud enough that it covered up any solo parts.
All in all, I would recommend making the time to see this classic show. It was a delightful show with strong acting and beautiful music. Personally I thought it was an afternoon well spent.
Anything goes runs through August 25 at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Sanders Theater.
For tickets and information go to StolenShakespeareGuild.org or call Theater Mania at 866-811-4111.