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The original production of Anything Goes first opened in 1934 and ran for 420 performances, the fourth longest run of a musical theatre show at that time. Not only was Indiana native Cole Porter’s snappy musical creation a huge hit during Depression days, it has been revived numerous times since then. And Beef and Boards’ current production, directed by Douglas E. Stark and choreographed by Ron Morgan with musical direction by Kristy Templet, follows a long line of popular stagings over the past 80 years.

Granted, this is a dated piece – although this version seems to follow the revival production of 1987’s reworkings. Yet even that edition carries the quick tempo and wise-cracking style of the original patter written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. B&B’s ensemble does a very nice job of keeping that 1930’s feel intact as they spin through this old chestnut of a tale. Basically, boy has met girl, is losing her to a rich suitor, will do anything to get her back, including putting his job in peril as he follows her onboard the SS American. Lots of comic and romantic situations (and songs) ensue and, of course, the ending leaves everything in good order.

Led by frequent B&B performer Timothy Ford as Billy Crocker and B&B regular Deb Wims as his seductive gal pal Reno Sweeney, the cast dances and sings and cavorts through the lively proceedings with polish and sass. Ford is perfect as the lovelorn Billy, though I had a bit of trouble wondering about the keys of some of his songs. He is suave, polished and very talented in every aspect of his performance. Ms. Wims belts out her many numbers with a Mermanesque flair and dances with style and sheen.

Timothy Ford and Whitney Meyer work through their number entitled, "Easy to Love"

Timothy Ford and Whitney Meyer work through their number entitled, “Easy to Love”


Whitney Meyer is sweet as Billy’s object of affection, Hope Harcourt, and adds her lovely voice to the proceedings; Susan B. Smith does a wonderful job with the part of Hope’s mother, Evangeline Harcourt; and Douglas E. Stark provides his usual remarkable comic sense with the rich and poorly sighted, Elijah J. Whitney.
Jack Milo and Deb Wims explore the range of their relationship in their rendition of "Friendship"

Jack Milo and Deb Wims explore the range of their relationship in their rendition of “Friendship”


Sarah Joy Ledtke (pictured with sailors in the top banner photo) sparkles in her depiction of moll/doll Erma; stage and film veteran Jack Milo does his baggy-pants best as Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin; and popular B&B funnyman Jeff Stockberger explodes onstage with his zany and gleeful Englishman, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. When you attend, look forward to his “The Gypsy in Me” number – it is a show-stopper!
The cast of "Anything Goes" at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

The cast of “Anything Goes” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre


The supporting ensemble sails through their song & dance duties with crisp and precise performances, playing everything from the ship’s crew, to flirty dance troupe girls, to spiritually preborn Chinamen, and girlfriends and attendants. The first act finale, a full-length and high stepping rendition of the title song – “Anything Goes” – features all these singers and dancers to great effect. It’s a tremendous act-closing number!

All in all, I found Anything Goes to be time very well spent. Some of the humor and comedy bits are a tad dated, but most are still quite funny. The Cole Porter songs are always great to hear again and there are so many wonderful classics in this version. Costumes by B&B’s Jill Kelly are their usual marvelously designed colorful creations, while the set by Michael Layton is fitting and very accommodating of the many inside and outside scenes.

This show’s buffet line features a delicious variety of vegetable dishes and meat entrees. My favorite this time was the Mediterranean Chicken with Wild Rice and Tuscan Blend Vegetables on the side. Our waiter was a new face for us, a young lady named Charisma, who gave us great service at our table. As always – a visit to Beef and Boards is a multi-tiered pleasure of great entertainment, great food and great service.

Cole Porter’s Anything Goes continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, located at 9301 Michigan Rd. in Indianapolis, through May 11. For full information about show dates and times go to http://www.beefandboards.com or call the B&B ticket office at 317-872-9664.

* – photos provided by Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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