Anything Goes, For a Few More Days


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The cast of Anything Goes

Better late than never, the cliché goes so I wanted to say a few words about Surflight’s Trump Plaza production of Anything Goes before it’s gone. And that will be Sunday, November 13th. I saw it a few weeks ago but I’ve unconscionably been putting off writing about it.

Anything Goes represents a sort of a first for me. It’s the first show I’ve seen Surflight do in two different productions. The first production I saw was in the 2004 summer season. I loved it and in my Beachcomber review I wrote, “I can’t convey just how much fun this old chestnut is.” Surflight’s Atlantic City production is every bit as much fun. We even get Ted LeFevre’s excellent set design again. Directorial duties, which went to Corin Hollifield in the Long Beach Island production, have been handed over to Surflight producing artistic director Steve Steiner. They’re both top notch.

The story, of course, remains the same. It’s a 1930s goofball comedy that would have done Preston Sturges proud. The book (i.e., the storyline, as opposed to the songs) was rewritten for the 1987 revival on which this show is based. But the songs are pure Cole Porter. We’re treated to such Porter classics as the Anything Goes (of course), De-Lovely (it’s delightful) and You’re the Top (which always makes me think of Bobby Short). Oh about that story. I gave it short shrift last time and I will again here. It’s the usual boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl sort of thing with mobsters, rich matrons, priests and a couple of Chinese guys thrown in. And it’s set mostly on a cruise ship.

I couldn’t have picked a better cast if they had let me do the casting myself. It’s like a Surflight homecoming with many of my favorites like Vince Urbani, Alena Gerst, Matty Price, Maggie Anderson, Carrie Tillis Anita Hollander, Allan M-L Wager and MarTina Vidmar to name a few. Hell let’s name them all. There’s also Devin Norvik, Jesse Galvan and Chad Ritter. If there are any in this list I haven’t singled out for praise before it was only because of space limitations. I’ve seen them all in variety of roles and they never disappoint.

The only thing better than seeing all of these wonderful familiar faces would be seeing some new ones that are just as appealing. And we’re in luck. This time out the male lead, Bill Crocker is played by a likeable guy named Lance Olds. The gangster Moonface Martin is played by Leslie Feagan, a sort of a Broderick Crawford after Atkins type, to great effect. Jay Aubrey Jones strikes just the right note of pomposity as The Captain of this ship of foolishness and he is assisted by his hilarious Purser, played to the hilt by Patrick Riviere. Rounding out the cast are a very funny man of the cloth, the Rev. Henry T. Dobson (Roger Preston Smith) and woman named Virtue (Jill Slyter) who's likely to give you less than virtuous thoughts. 

I regret not getting this review out sooner but you hardly need my endorsement to know that the odds are a Surflight production is going to be a great time. Surflight bills its Long Beach Island shows as “Broadway at the Beach.” Trump’s producers brag that Surflight’s Atlantic City shows are “Broadway on the Boardwalk.” I think both slogans are apropos. But the way things are going I wouldn’t be surprised if the name “Surflight” all by itself becomes synonymous with great stage entertainment no matter where it’s produced.

At the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City through November 13, 2005. Click the link for show times.