More than 80 years after its original Broadway debut, Cole Porter’s musical masterpiece “Anything Goes” still delights audiences. It is arguably the most familiar project on community stages. The latest revival is running at Theatre by the Bay.
Director/Producer Lawrence F. Bloom has selected the show’s 1962 version. He joins co-producers Barbara Koenig and Martha Stein in achieving a theatrical knock-out by wooing one of the best husband/wife teams in the region—Cathy and Michael Chimenti.
Cathy, as former evangelist, now night club singer Reno Sweeney is a triple threat with her great voice, dancing skills and comedic timing. She brings an adult edge frequently overlooked by less clever troupes. Michael honors all Three Stooges and every 1930s movie gangster as hilarious Moonface Martin–unlucky Public Enemy #13.
With the Chimentis at the heart of the production, many familiar faces have reached the top of their game. Eli Koenig as ruthless businessman Elisha Whitney makes an unscripted pratfall that adds an extra humorous layer. John Canning as clueless Sir Evelyn uses his resonant voice to his melodious advantage. He musically suggests to shapely Reno Sweeney “Let’s Misbehave!”
Smiling scoundrel Billy Crocker (Mark Solkoff) sets off a series of mischievous mishaps aboard ship. Luckily Reno has his back. They share mutual admiration singing, “You’re the Top.” Good hearted gun moll Bonnie (Lila Edelkind) alerts Moonface when the coast is clear. On the other hand, true romance sometimes needs an operatic anchor on the open sea. Enter Andria Amarosa (Hope Harcourt) who showcases her beautiful voice as she professes her love for Billy in “All through the Night.” Her mother (played by Sonya Tannenbaum) is far from romantic with her high society snobbery.
Look for choreography (with some great tap dancing) and costumes by Chery Manniello with consistent musical direction by Richard Louis- Pierre. They certainly enhance Cole Porter’s 1930s irreverence without losing a more modern feel.
Supporting players including Sue Fiebert, Jay Gurka as Ching, Nick Cuttonaro as Ling, Fran Geier as a dancing “angel” and dozens more performers too numerous to name individually maintain the troupe’s always warm community feeling.
The troupe performs at 13-00 209th Street (Bay Terrace Jewish Center). Call (718) 428-6363 or surf to www. TheatreByTheBayNY.com. Their next show will be South Pacific. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.