The Herald Bulletin

April 16, 2014

Review: Classic Cole Porter tunes in 'Anything Goes'

Beef and Boards musical is fast-paced and fun-filled

By Emma Bowen Meyer For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — INDIANAPOLIS -- Light-hearted entertainment reigns at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre as the stage is filled with sparkling costumes, quick stepping and even a little slapstick thrown into the mix. “Anything Goes,” now playing through May 11, may be a musical celebrating its 80th anniversary, but the humor is not lost on modern audiences.

With music by Indiana’s own Cole Porter, the show cranks out one well-known classic piece after another. Audience members will be surprised to learn that so many tunes they’ve heard through the years originated from the same musical. “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Friendship,” “It’s Delovely,” and “Anything Goes” are only a few of the well-recognized songs.

Belting out the tunes are extremely talented cast members. Deb Wims, a regular at the venue, takes center stage with her rich, full, bold voice that perfectly suits her character, a nightclub singer named Reno Sweeney. A sweeter, but absolutely breathtaking tone comes from Whitney Meyer, who plays the love interest, Hope Harcourt.

A silly boy-meets-girl story ties the music and dancing together. A young broker, Billy Crocker, has fallen in love with Hope, but she is due to marry another man (in order to please her mother who is on the brink of ruin). He stows away on an ocean liner to be near her and try to win her heart. Through a series of mistaken identities and crazy hijinks (not to mention a ridiculous ending), Billy gets to marry Hope and her fiancé falls in love with Reno, the nightclub singer.

Granted, elements of the story are dated, but it is set in the 1930s, so that is to be expected.

But no one buys a ticket to a musical to root through an intricate plot. Musicals are spectacles of singing and dancing and this one fits the bill. Wims captures the eye as she changes from one show-stopping sparkling dress to another. One quick change is done almost in front of the audience as a fabulous dress becomes a silver fringe-laden leotard – which leaves spectators simply delighted.

The first half of the show features dance numbers that are reminiscent of Fred and Ginger Rogers as couples dance beautifully and elegantly across the boards. Act 2 unleashes bigger numbers with the large cast tapping wildly – and expertly – around one another.

Jack Milo pulls off the 1930’s gangster routine perfectly. As Moonface Martin, he is making his getaway aboard the ship. He lays low until he discovers his celebrity status comes with some serious perks.

Jeff Stockberger, a favorite on the Beef and Boards stage for his comedic timing, plays Hope’s fiancé with mannerisms that has the audience in stitches. He consistently uses his large size and exaggerated expressions for full effect.

Bursting with energy, the cast’s excitement is infectious. With a fast-paced, fun-filled show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, patrons will be tapping their toes as they enjoy “Anything Goes.”

If you go What: "Anything Goes" Where: Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, 9301 N. Michigan Road, Indianapolis When: Now through May 11 Cost: $37.50-$62.50 (includes Chef Odell Ward's dinner buffet) For more information: call 317-872-9664 or visit