Over the weekend, Westhill’s Northstar Playmakers cast off and embarked on their annual musical production. Anything Goes, this year’s show, is the reinvigorated 1987 revival of the Cole Porter romantic comedy from the 1930s. The show presented a series of relationships gone awry, along with a side of shenanigans and mistaken identities.
At the center of the show are Reno Sweeny, played by Rebecca Gatz (’17), a nightclub singer who had once been an evangelist; Billy Crocker played by Ben Freedman (’17), a young Wall Street stock broker and Sweeny’s lover; and Hope Harcourt played by Julianna Goldfluss (’16), an engaged debutante who has caught Crocker’s eye. All three made their characters come to life, and Gatz in particular provided a standout, larger-than-life performance. Her performance in Blow, Gabriel, Blow evoked the luxurious aesthetic that encapsulates the show. In addition, she and Freedman dueted fabulously in You’re the Top, providing enough sass to modernize the song and provide a connection for audience members. Additionally, Freedman entertained in another great duet with Goldfluss in It’s De-Lovely.
While the leads were great, the supporting cast members truly made the show. Lord Evelyn Oakley played Justin MacArthur (AITE), provided comedic relief with his lack of knowledge of American idioms, as did Audrey Molina (‘19) and Austin Cappetta (AITE) with their hysterics and reluctant love affair. In contrast to their high society comedy, Moonface Martin, played by Will Bruno (‘17), and Erma, played by Emily Skaug (‘16), provided lowbrow entertainment with their roles as gangsters (disclaimer: the author is friends with Skaug). The ensemble also added a layer of entertainment. That said, the show is a smaller one, and the stage sometimes appeared crowded with people.
In terms of behind the scenes work, the costume and set design were both exceptional, and the lighting was very well done. The costumes perfectly embodied the ethos of a “champagne musical,” as the producer’s note calls it, and the set design was absolutely stunning.
The one pitfall to the musical was the price. At $15 for a student ticket at the door and $20 for a general admission ticket, I felt I got my money’s worth, but would be reluctant to spend the cash to see the show again. Overall though, despite its lower level of name recognition, Anything Goes was another Northstar hit.