Broadway musicals abound on local stages, with the Player’s Guild of Dearborn presenting its pandemic-delayed production of “Anything Goes” and the Fisher holding 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 DEARBORN PLAYERS GUILD
Cole Porter’s musical, “Anything Goes,” which the Dearborn Players Guild had on its Spring 2020 schedule when the pandemic hit, opens a long-awaited three-weekend run May 6 at the theater, 21730 Madison to Dearborn.
Set on an ocean liner from New York to London in 1934, stowaway Billy Crocker is in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Two other passengers on board aid Crocker in his quest: nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and public enemy number 13, Moonface Martin.
The show featured Cole Porter’s popular songs “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You”.
Brian Townsend conducted the show, with musical direction from 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 Captain, and Jeff Graham as Commissioner.
Rounding out the company are Rebecca Borsodi, Tim Carney, Lauren Danke, Dylan Hart, Jeff Lokken, Kristen Pagels, Mo Thomas and Sam Volpe.
Townsend said making “Anything Goes” is equal parts excitement, enthusiasm, nerves and pressure.
“This is our biggest production since the pandemic caused us to shift focus and gradually return to live theater,” he said. “Our goal is to make the show enjoyable from start to finish, not only paying homage to its role in music history, but also ensuring the kind of performance the Players Guild of Dearborn is known for.”
Townsend said the music is contagious and he ends up singing the tunes from the show the day after rehearsal.
“With Cole Porter’s music, mistaken identities, mismatched loves and more tap dancing than you can shake a martini, I think audiences will have a really enjoyable experience,” he said.
Music director Richard Alder said the show had a strong cast.
“They’re fun, responsive to management and determined to put on a really good show,” he said. “The characters are full of humor, and our actors bring it out.”
Beurer, who was part of the 2020 cast that was impacted by the pandemic, said it sometimes seemed like the show would never open.
“It’s surreal to come back and pick up where we left off,” he said. “Somehow I feel like nothing has changed, but when I look around all of our masked faces in the club room, I’m reminded that the whole world has changed.”
Beurer said one thing that hasn’t changed is the Guild’s commitment to the magic and power of live theater.
“Being part of the Guild’s first full music production since the pandemic feels like a victory lap,” he said. “We are recovering the sense of normality that we lost two years ago.”
Beurer said playing Moonface Martin allows him to make people laugh.
“Moonface is pure comic relief,” he said. “It’s so liberating to completely lose myself in the complete and utter ridiculousness of Moonface.”
Beurer said that although the show was funny, it lasted because it has so much heart.
“The story celebrates romantic love, the unconditional support of a good friend, and the powerful community bonds we create for ourselves,” he said. “So, I hope audiences have fun and can come away with a reminder of the special connections in their own lives.”
Carissa Lokken is also delighted to be back on stage after such a long break.
“The cast and crew enjoy every minute of rehearsal together,” she said. “The idea of being able to sing and dance again for our customers is exhilarating.”
She said her character, Reno Sweeney, is the opposite of her own personality.
“Becoming this confident woman with all this moxie has been a challenge, but that’s what I love,” she said. “It’s a dream role for me and I’m thrilled to play it.”
Well said Erma, an attractive and silly character, is fun to play.
“I love finding ways to give his personality more depth than his ‘boy toy’ persona,” she said. “Keeping the Jersey accent can be tough, but practice makes perfect.”
Bien said it was exhilarating to be back on stage.
“I think audiences will get their fair share of laughs with this show,” she said. “There are so many goofy characters and a lot of heckling.”
The show runs at 8 p.m. May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 and at 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 going to playersguildofdearborn.org.
LOCAL ACTOR AT THE CASTING OF “THE BAND’S VISIT” AT THE FISHER THEATER
The Tony Award-winning musical ‘The Band’s Visit’, which runs at the Fisher Theater until May 1, has a local connection in the cast: Joe Joseph, who plays band member Haled, grew up under the name of Joe Dimuzio (Joseph is the son of his mother’s maiden name), grew up 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 that landed in Tel Aviv, expecting to be greeted by a representative of a local Arab cultural organization. When no one arrives, they try to buy bus tickets for the intended destination. However, due to one band member’s accent, they end up in the wrong town, in the middle of nowhere.
Despite their cultural differences and initial mistrust, the villagers welcome the group members stranded for the night. Meals, stories and music are shared, as the characters reveal their stories, laying bare their common humanity.
The remaining performances of “The Band’s Visit” are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 30, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on 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 MUSIC” TO PLAY THE FISHERMAN
“Anastasia – the New Broadway Musical,” which was scheduled to open May 3 at the Fisher Theater, will instead open May 5, due to a breakthrough COVID case at the company.
The show will take place in Detroit through May 8 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit.
In 1920s Paris, a young woman sets out to uncover the secrets of her past with the help of a con man and a former aristocrat, while trying to escape those who would harm her.
Tickets start at $39 and are available at the Fisher Theater box office and online at Ticketmaster.com.
HURON HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS “THE ADDAMS FAMILY” MUSIC
The Huron High School Drama Club presents the musical “The Addams Family” at 7 p.m. May 5-6 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’re back on stage and able to perform live for the audience,” she said.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students. To order online, go to hsd.booktix.com.