Review: Cast of 'Anything Goes' charms at Ursuline Academy

The 1930s was an era full of glamour, shindigs and, of course, love. Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” beautifully portrays this time of merriment and embellishes it with stupendous music and highbrow story lines that leave audiences laughing and tapping along even to this day. This heart-warming musical follows a wacky group of characters as they board the ocean liner U.S.S. American sailing from New York to England. Ursuline Academy’s recent production of this classic musical was a wonderful night at the theater and left audiences cheering for more.

The cast was led by the fabulous Kennedy Carstens as the evangelist turned nightclub singer, Reno Sweeney. Carstens’ sassy and hilarious performance was only outshined by her powerful vocals that were equally mesmerizing as they were exquisite. The show’s male protagonist, junior Connor Bernard played the character of Billy Crocker stunningly. Bernard’s soulful vocals and near perfect comedic timing were perfect for the young Wall Street broker.

CJ Allen’s performance of Public Enemy No. 13, Moonface Martin was one of the most entertaining performances of the night. Allen, who could be described as a comedic genius, kept the audience rolling with laughter during his entire performance. Fifth Avenue debutant Hope Harcourt, was played by the lovely Erin Frey. Frey’s clear and exquisite vocals were ideal for the ingénue. The show’s cast as a whole showed great talent as well. “Anything Goes” is in fact a show that must include tap dancing, and every single cast member participated in impressively executed tap numbers all the while maintaining a brilliantly balanced vocal blend and solid harmonious sound.

The glitz of the ‘30s was beautifully explored by the breathtaking costume pieces that were either hand-picked or made by students under the direction of sophomore Madolyn Desch. An astonishing multiple deck ship was built and innovatively designed by students as well. The ship’s intricate design help accommodate many scene changes while staying true to its nautical design, as the ship’s front mast could be pulled out and used as the frame for many rooms in the show’s plot. Ursuline’s Shannon Dowling and Tessa Lynn Wiedmann created impressive lighting and sound plots, respectively; different color pallets were used to highlight the characters as they interacted with each other and sailed across the sea and sound difficulties were handled in a professional manner and went by without a hitch.

Ursuline Academy’s production of the timeless musical proved to be a well spent night at the theatre that brought audiences to tears and laughter as they tapped their feet along with the infectious music of the era.

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