Broadway musicals abound on local stages, with the Players Guild of Dearborn presenting its pandemic-delayed production of “Anything Goes” and the Fisher hosting back-to-back Broadway tours, with “The Band’s Visit” closing May 1 and a May 5 opening for “Anastasia. ”
COLE PORTER’S ‘ANYTHING GOES’ OPENS AT THE PLAYERS GUILD OF DEARBORN
The Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” which the Players Guild of Dearborn had on its spring schedule in 2020 when the pandemic struck, opens a long-awaited three-weekend run May 6 at the playhouse, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.
Set on an ocean liner bound from New York to London in 1934, a stowaway, Billy Crocker, is in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Two other passengers on board help Crocker in his quest: Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy Number 13, Moonface Martin.
The show introduced the popular Cole Porter songs “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.”
Brian Townsend directs the show, with musical direction by Richard Alder.
The cast includes: Carissa Lokken as Reno Sweeney, Alex Quinlan as Billy Crocker, Josh Beurer as Moonface Martin, Madeline Bien as Erma and Meg Pace as Hope Harcourt.
John Lamb plays Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, with Leslie Garber as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Bill McCloskey as Elisha Whitney, Steve Nazarek as the captain and Jeff Graham as the purser.
Rounding out the company are Rebecca Borsodi, Tim Carney, Lauren Danke, Dylan Hart, Jeff Lokken, Kristen Pagels, Mo Thomas and Sam Volpe.
Townsend said directing “Anything Goes” is made of equal parts excitement, enthusiasm, nerves and pressure.
“This is our largest production since the pandemic made us shift our focus and gradually work our way back to live theatre,” he said. “Our goal is to make the show enjoyable from start to finish, not only paying homage to its role in musical history, but also to ensure the kind of performance for which the Players Guild of Dearborn is known.”
Townsend said the music is contagious, and he ends ups singing the show tunes the day after rehearsal.
“With music by Cole Porter, mistaken identities, mismatched loves and more tap dancing than you can shake a martini at, I think audiences will have a truly enjoyable experience,” he said.
Music director Richard Alder said the show has a strong cast.
“They are fun, responsive to direction and committed to putting on a really great show,” he said. “The characters are humorous, and our actors bring that out.”
Beurer, who was in the 2020 cast which was impacted by the pandemic, said it seemed at times as if the show would never open.
“It is surreal coming back and picking up where we left,” he said. “In some ways, it feels like nothing has changed, but when I look around the clubroom at all of our masked faces, I am reminded that the entire world has changed.”
Beurer said one thing that has not changed is the Guild’s commitment to the magic and power of live theatre.
“Being part of the Guild’s first full production musical since the pandemic feels like a victory lap,” he said. “We are reclaiming the sense of normalcy we lost two years ago.”
Beurer said playing Moonface Martin allows him to make people laugh.
“Moonface is pure comic relief,” he said. “It feels so liberating to completely lose myself in Moonface’s complete and utter ridiculousness.”
Beurer said that while the show is funny, it has endured because it has so much heart.
“The story celebrates romantic love, the unconditional support of a good friend and the powerful bonds between the communities we make for ourselves,” he said. “So, I hope audience enjoy themselves and are able to leave with a reminder of the special connections in their own lives.”
Carissa Lokken is also thrilled to be back onstage after such a long hiatus.
“The cast and crew are enjoying every minute of rehearsing together,” she said. “The idea of being able to sing and dance again for our patrons is exhilarating.”
She said her character, Reno Sweeney, is the opposite of her own personality.
“Becoming that confident woman with all that moxie has been challenging, but that is what I love,” she said. “It is a dream role for me, and I am thrilled to be playing her.”
Bien said Erma, a flirty, silly character, is fun to play.
“I love finding ways to give more depth to her personality than her ‘boy toy’ persona,” she said. “Keeping the Jersey accent can be a struggle, but practice makes perfect.”
Bien said it is exhilarating to be back on stage.
“I think audiences will get their fair share of laughs out of this show,” she said. “There are so many goofy characters, and lots of hullabaloo.”
The show runs 8 p.m. May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21, and 2:30 p.m. May 8, 15 and 22 at the theater, 21730 Madison St. in Dearborn.
Tickets are $20, and are available by calling 313-561-TKTS or by going to playersguildofdearborn.org.
LOCAL ACTOR IN THE CAST OF ‘THE BAND’S VISIT’ AT THE FISHER THEATER
The Tony Award-winning musical, “The Band’s Visit,” which runs at the Fisher Theater through May 1, has a local connection in the cast: Joe Joseph, who plays band member Haled, grew up as Joe Dimuzio (Joseph is his mother’s maiden name), was raised in Southfield, attended high school at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in Detroit, and graduated from the University of Michigan.
“The Band’s Visit” is the story of an Egyptian ceremonial police band who have landed in Tel Aviv, expecting to be met by a representative of a local Arab cultural organization. When no one arrives, they attempt to purchase bus tickets for their intended destination. However, due to a band member’s accent, they end up in the wrong town, in the middle of nowhere.
Despite their cultural differences and initial distrust, the villagers take in the stranded band members for the night. Meals, stories and music are shared, as the characters reveal their stories, laying bare their common humanity.
Remaining performances of “The Band’s Visit” are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 30, and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. May 1 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit.
Tickets start at $35, and are available at the Fisher Theater box office, and online at Ticketmaster.com.
‘ANASTASIA – THE MUSICAL’ TO PLAY THE FISHER
“Anastasia – the New Broadway Musical,” which was scheduled to open May 3 at the Fisher Theater, will open instead May 5, due to a breakthrough COVID case within the company.
The show will be in Detroit through May 8 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit.
Set in Paris in the 1920s, a young woman sets out to discover the secrets of her past with the help of a con man and a former aristocrat, while trying to elude those who would harm her.
Tickets start at $39, and are available the Fisher Theater box office and online at Ticketmaster.com.
HURON HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS ‘THE ADDAMS FAMILY’ MUSICAL
The Huron High School Drama Club presents “The Addams Family” musical at 7 p.m. May 5 and 6, and 5 p.m. May 7 at the high school, 32044 Huron River Drive in New Boston.
Theater director Kimberly Waddell said the school was originally scheduled to produce the show in May 2020, when the pandemic put it on hold.
“The students are so excited that we are back on stage and able to perform live for the public,” she said.
Tickets are $12 for adults, and $8 for students. To order online, go to hsd.booktix.com.