The first show of Community Players 84th season is Cole Porter's 1934 musical "Anything Goes" takes place on board the luxury liner, S.S. American. The story of boy, Billy Crocker (Tim Caouette)loves girl, Hope Harcourt ( Jamie Dellorco) who is engaged to wealthy British suitor, Lord Evelyn (Nicholas Jewell) who is pursued by evangelist songstress, Reno Sweeney ( Kelsey Mulligan) is the basic storyline in this 1987 version of the show. Add boy's heavy drinking boss (Marty West), girl's domineering mother (Carol Varden) and two of the biggest scene stealers who bring the needed comic relief in this show, Ed Carusi as public enemy # 13, Moonface Martin and Nicole Gemma as the gangster's sexy gun moll, Erma plus numerous assorted passengers to this musical. The costumes by Marcia Zammarelli are breathtakingly gorgeous and the numerous dance numbers including superb tapdancing by director/choreographer, Bill Wilson are the standout parts of this musical.
The main problem with this version is in the 1987 script. It begins with "I Get A Kick Out of You" which is one of Cole Porter's best numbers but when used first it is a weak opening song because you don't know the characters relationships with one another. (The 1962 version uses it towards the end of the first act as Reno yearns for the man she really loves and becomes the strong torch song it should be.) Although the accompaniment is excellent a key problem is the sound system. Some of the stationary microphones didn't pick up some of the singing voices. Two keyboards are used in the show and sometimes overpowered the individual vocalists. They are located down center and everytime a vocalist sang there, the voice was lost, making it hard to follow what was being sung. Exceptions to this occurred in group numbers, "Bon Voyage", the harmonic, "Public Enemy # 1" and in the Finale as well as in Tim's version of "Easy To Love", Ed's "Be Like the Bluebird" and Nicole's "Buddie,Beware". Hopefully the sound woes will be fixed during this 3 weekend run. The music director is Tim Robertson who plays one of the keyboards while Jay Atwood is the second keyboard player.
Tim Caouette, a third year musical theatre major at RIC does well as the juvenille lead, Billy, showing off his wonderful singing voice in the romantic ballad, "Easy To Love" and has some funny scenes with Ed when he is disguised as a proper Brit and Snake Eyes. Kelsey Mulligan from Connecticut, is a 20 year old musical theatre major at RIC. She plays Reno with a sexy flair, dancing up a storm and has some great flirting scenes with Tim and Nicholas who plays the prim and proper, Sir Evelyn who falls madly in love with Reno while learning funny American expressions. Nicholas holds a BFA in Theatre performance from Hofstra University. Jamie Dellorco, a junior theatre and English major at RIC, plays Sir Evelyn's fiancee, Hope who truly loves Billy. She gets to wear one of Marcia's loveliest peach colored gowns. Carol Varden plays her rich, snooty mother wonderfully. Billy's boss, Mr. Whitney who drinks to excess is ably played by Marty West. The two comic gems in this show are Ed and Nicole who bring down the house with their line delivery and facial expressions as well as their interactions with the whole cast. His Bluebird number and her dance number, "Buddie, Beware" with 4 sailors are excellently executed. The dancing by the entire cast is topnotch especially in "Anything Goes" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow". "Anything Goes" runs for two more weekends in Pawtucket and is dedicated to the memory of Normand Beauregard, past president and long time member of Community Players.