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Utah Shakespeare Festival's 'Anything Goes' is smooth sailing

Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 1:31 p.m. MDT

Having described "Anything Goes" as a "good old-fashioned musical comedy" many times myself, I chuckled on reading Utah Shakespeare Festival director Brad Carroll's notes in the souvenir program when he said "'Anything Goes' is a good old-fashioned musical comedy in the truest sense of the term."

He couldn't be more correct. Filled with good guys, gangsters, a dashing leading man, a debutante, rich people, folks on the lam and mistaken identity — all aboard a cruise ship — the play guarantees a fun-filled evening.

Throw in the incomparable music of Cole Porter and you're really in for a treat.

"Anything Goes," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," "I Get A Kick Out of You," "Easy to Love" and "It's De-Lovely" are just a few of the recognizable Porter tunes that'll leave you singing as you exit the show, thanks in large part to the festival's live orchestra, under the direction of Jeremy Mann.

Festival favorite Melinda Parrett dons the tap shoes and fab clothes as Reno Sweeney, evangelist turned nightclub singer. Parrett's one-liners were filled with sass and her dancing was right on target, but there were a few times her voice didn't feel as nimble as needed for Porter's lyrical score.

Robert Adelman Hancock (Billy Crocker) soars on his tenor songs and duets with Elizabeth Telford, who does a fine job as Hope Harcourt. Aaron Galligan-Stierle pulls off the stuffy Englishman very well, also selling his fun song in Act 2, a great moment between him and Parrett.

But it's the song-and-dance numbers that really shine. Rhett Guter's choreography is terrific; it's just a shame the script doesn't call for more tap numbers to showcase the energetic cast.

K.L. Alberts' costume design, Jo Winiarski's set design and Jaymi Lee Smith's lighting perfectly wrap up the nautical production.

So all aboard the S.S. American — it's about to set sail and, as Cole Porter would say, the ride is de-lovely!

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