SET SAIL WITH CAPTAIN COLE PORTER ON THE SS GOODSPEED



  BY      BONNIE GOLDBERG

Relax on your comfy lounge chair on the poop deck of the luxury ocean liner the SS American as Captain Cole Porter sets sail with the sparkling gem of a musical “Anything Goes.” The show has been effervescent for more than seven decades and never more so than in this Technicolor iteration being given a bon voyage send off at Goodspeed Musicals until Thursday, June 16.

Get your streamers and confetti ready for the launch party and have your martini chilled, as this merry musical with original book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, with updates by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, leaves port for adventures at sea.

The lucky passengers on this vivid voyage are on the lookout for celebrities: now that Charlie Chaplin is a no-show, they want “stars” to light up the ocean skies. It’s not enough that the tycoon Eli Whitney (Kingley Leggs), the socialites mother and daughter, the Harcourts (Denise Lute and daughter Hannah Florence), Hope’s aristocratic hubby-to-be Lord Oakleigh (Benjamin Howes) and glamorous entertainer Reno Sweeney (Rashidra Scott) are traveling first class.

It’s only when David Harris’ Billy Crocker is mistaken for Snake Eyes Johnson, Public Enemy #1, and Stephen DeRosa’s wildly manic Moonface Martin, Public Enemy #2, are identified that the guests aboard are pleased. Billy is actually a stowaway, anxious to disrupt Hope’s marital plans with the English idiom challenged Lord Oakley so Billy can plead his own courtship desires.

While Moonface Martin masquerades as a minister, his cohort Erma (Desiree Davar) entertains in saucy style, as does the wonderfully talented Reno, and Billy tries to woo Hope before the Captain (Jay Aubrey Jones) or the Purser (Patrick Richwood) catch him in the act. The ship sails full steam ahead into laughter and love.

Captivating tunes like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Friendship,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “Anything Goes” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” fill the smoke stacks with style. Stephen DeRosa’s Moonface Martin delivers seven full decks of funny, while Kelli Barclay’s treasure of tapping toes, Ilona Somogyi’s natty nautical costumes and Wilson Chin’s red, white and blue patriotic set are first rate. Daniel Goldstein directs this super-duper luxury liner of happiness that is definitely “so easy to love.”

For tickets ($29 and up), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River, East Haddam at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with select 2 p.m. matinees, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with select 6:30 p.m. shows. An added performance is Tuesday, June 7 at 2 p.m.

Sign up for the fun, frolic and festivities aboard the SS American that is sinfully sensational and definitely “the Tops!"

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