Music by Cole Porter
Lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse and others
Directed by Mark Brotherton
Starring Cami Yankwitt, Daniel Robbins, Gianfranco Ferri, Julie Ruth
Theater UCF, Orlando, FL
Let’s slip away on the SS America for a luxury Atlantic crossing. The market’s tanked, celebs are nowhere in sight, but the martinis are dry, songs never stop, and there’s plenty of ice. Our hero, Billy Crocker (Daniel Robbins), serves as toady to Wall Street financier and amateur alcoholic Eli Whitney. Whitney fires him every morning, just on account. Billy stows away, hoping to woo his sweetie, Hope Harcourt (Julie Ruth), now foolishly engaged to Count Andrea Maria Della Rosa (Ferri). Helping him hide is semi-ex-former sometimes girlfriend and itinerant preacher Reno Sweeney (Yankwitt). Short on luggage but long on creativity, he disguises himself as a sailor, a Chinese convert, and then Public Enemy #1. This just gets him a few frequent sailor miles until the star-starved passengers demand a star, no matter how dim, and he’ll do. Girls? Oh, yeah, everyone gets one. They’re like party favors on this voyage.
Enough plot. The real stars of this song and dance number are the tunes. You’ve got your toe-tapping show stopper “Anything Goes,” a couple of hits you remember from auntie’s Hi-Fi — “It’s Delovely,” “You’re the Top,” and “Let’s Misbehave,” and everyone’s favorite paean to Bolivian Marching Powder. “I Get a Kick out of You.” This classic contains that great line, “I get no kick from cocaine.” Right, Porter. We’re with you all the way. Pretty much everyone gets a turn singing to the oldies, with Reno and Billy doing the heavy vocal lifting. Great supporting characters include Captain Kareem Bandealy and the two non-oriental converts, Luke and John (Robert Coll and Mike Saul).
The cast remains in constant motion, up and down and back and forth on the lovely Art Deco set. A sliding stair case allows multiple grand exits, entrances, and arias. Luckily, no one gets crushed or steps where the steps ain’t, because you’d hate to lose any of these characters. And if you’ve missed this boffo show, don’t worry. I’ll call you in the morning when you have a hangover, and tell you the rest.