Energetic ‘Anything Goes’ wows audience

By Libby D’Orvilliers

A show full of friendship, funny surprises and feel-good moments, “Anything Goes,” directed and choreographed by Robin Lewis, captivated audiences this weekend at Rider. As I settled into the Yvonne Theater on April 20 and the lights dimmed, I was slowly transported back in time to 1934 as energetic tap-dancing sailors made their way on the stage to set the scene. The second the curtains opened, I was brought aboard the S.S. American by the dazzling set and lighting design. I knew I was in for a treat.

Running April 19 to 21, Rider’s final mainstage musical theater production of the semester, “Anything Goes” follows the story of a host of characters: debutante Hope Harcourt, played by senior musical theater major Rylee Carpenter, love-struck stowaway Billy Crocker, played by senior musical theater major Trevor Shingler, nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, played by senior musical theater major Abby Bohn, and Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, played by senior musical theater major Ricky Cardenas. While the story follows a few central characters, it truly is an ensemble show with the entire cast working together to bring fun dynamics and an energetic atmosphere to the stage.

Ellis Foreman (left) and Jaden Foreman (right) perform a dynamic tap sequence.
Peter G. Borg/Rider University

Silly scenes abound in this production. One of my favorites occurred in Act 1, when gangster Moonface Martin, played by junior musical theater major Aidan Kelly, sneakily swipes the glasses of broker Elisha Whitney, played by senior musical theater major Evan Blackwell, leaving the character struggling to see throughout the performance. This particular scene was extremely well-timed and had me in stitches laughing.

Freshman environmental science major Emily Ivanauskas, who uses she/they pronouns, expressed that her favorite number was “It’s De-Lovely,” stating that Carpenter and Shingler “were great together.”

 One of my favorite numbers was as Act 1 came to a close with a rousing tap dance number that had the audience, myself included, practically dancing along in their seats. I was extremely impressed with the entire cast’s high energy maintained throughout the entirety of this physically demanding number. The act came to an end with an impressive final perfect harmony of the titular phrase “Anything Goes,” leaving the audience cheering with praise and excited for the next act as they processed out of the theater to the concession stands.

Rider’s production kept the energy up into Act 2, giving the audience a tightly choreographed dance number of “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” During this number, Bohn’s vocals stunned the audience, often prompting mid-song applause and cheering from viewers. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beautiful live musical accompaniment, directed by Louis F. Goldberg, that made sweet songs such as “Easy to Love” sound even sweeter and kept livelier songs such as “Friendship” full of life. The orchestra did a beautiful job of bringing life into classic show tunes and kept me humming the tunes long after the final bows concluded.

Rider’s recent production of “Anything Goes” was a wonderful showcase of talent that transported the audience to a toe-tapping, horn-blowing good time. 

Related Articles

Back to top button