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April 1, 2014 > Anything Goes a sparkling, tapping adventure on the high seas

Anything Goes a sparkling, tapping adventure on the high seas

By Lauren DÕAmbrosio

All ashore thatÕs going ashore! Whether youÕre a regular sailor or have only seen the blockbuster film ÒTitanic,Ó Irvington Conservatory TheatreÕs production of ÒAnything GoesÓ calls all hands to deck! This charming story includes a love-struck stowaway chasing the woman of his dreams, a conniving public enemy, a live dog, and, of course, the tippety-tapping toes of the title number, made famous originally by Ethel Merman, and more recently by Patti LuPone and Sutton Foster.

The set, brilliantly designed by Beth Ziegler, literally unfolds right before your eyes to show every part of the ship, from bow to brig. Just like on a real cruise ship, the furniture (not to mention entire rooms) fits snugly underneath the deck, and opens out so swiftly that even this avid theatregoerÕs jaw dropped.

Hats off to Master Carpenter Neil Burkhart and director Scott Di Lorenzo for finding the genius positioning for the 20-piece orchestra Ð suspending them on a platform ten feet above the ground. This lets the gorgeous Cole Porter score sail right over the stern of the ship and flow out to the audience. This also allows the pit to take part in the show, interacting with the actors and adding in clever one-liners.

The cast is sensational, led by senior Jennica Christman and sophomore Tim Sanders as close friends Reno Sweeney and Billy Crocker. Sanders dazzles audiences from the beginning, drawing you in first with his distinguished presence (you will forget he is only 15 years old) then dance training alongside Christman; the pair is sensational. The two showcase their vocals together in popular Broadway numbers like ÒYouÕre the TopÓ and ÒI Get a Kick Out of You.Ó

Di Lorenzo found a dream in senior Sabrina Burkhart as SandersÕ love interest, Hope Harcourt, a young debutante head over heels for Billy, but forced to marry British nobleman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Junior Zachary Lew) in order to ensure her familyÕs finances. Her singing voice surpassed only by her stunning features, this gem of the ocean shows grace far beyond her years.

Senior Frances Ramsel plays HopeÕs mother, a woman so terrified of losing her social status that she is willing to marry off her own daughter for money, but ends up with a wealthy suitor of her own (Jacob Rosen as the nearsighted Wall Street tycoon Elisha Whitney). This complication is just one of the several points in the show that remind you of its 1930s origins. Another is the portrayal of reformed sinners and Chinese immigrants Luke and Joan (Jeffery Ko and Cindy Hsiao), who, though portraying a coarse stereotype, are drop-dead hilarious in their over-the-top representation as they swindle the swindlers on board the cruise.

Sophomore Nicholas SaudÕs portrayal of the mischievous ÒMoonfaceÓ Martin is spot-on; the conniving villain wants nothing more than to be feared as Public Enemy #1, but is tragically stuck at #13. He tries to lift BillyÕs spirits in ÒBe like the Bluebird,Ó squawking good-naturedly in an attempt to keep his friend from losing faith in love.

The title number has the entire 32-person cast tapping and singing in perfect unison (choreography and vocals by Chris and Jennifer Olson) and the entire audience cheering and hollering by the final note of the song.

This musical is littered with clever dialogue, unexpected plot twists, and hysterical scene-stealing secondary characters (most notably Zachary Lew as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh and Courtney Hebert as Erma, MoonfaceÕs ditzy sidekick) that will have you rolling in the aisles. DonÕt miss this sea-faring adventure, docked at Irvington High School until April 5. Hurry before it sails away!

Anything Goes
Through Apr 5
7 p.m. (Saturday matinee at 2:30 p.m.)
Irvington Conservatory Theatre
Irvington High School
41800 Blacow Rd, Fremont
www.ihsdrama.com
$10 - $20

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