The Hippo


Apr 20, 2019








Anything Goes 

Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester 
When: Open now through Nov. 11. Showtimes are Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 for children ages 6 through 12 and $39 to $45 for adults
More info:, 668-5588 

Aboard the S.S. American
Palace Theatre actors talk Anything Goes

By Angie Sykeny

 The Palace Theatre has set sail with its latest production Anything Goes, a musical comedy that follows a lively group of characters aboard the S.S. American, a ship sailing between New York and London, and the love triangles and wild antics that ensue. The play, which was written by Cole Porter and debuted on Broadway in 1934, is on stage at the Palace now through Nov. 11. 

Among the characters is Moonface Martin (played by Vincent DiPeri), a second-rate gangster labeled “Public Enemy Number 13,” who’s trying to keep a low profile; Billy Crocker (played by Jason Long), a lovelorn Wall Street broker who sneaks aboard the ship without a ticket and must assume a number of disguises to avoid being caught; and Reno Sweeney (played by Marisa Rivera), an evangelist turned nightclub singer with unrequited feelings for Billy. Palace actors DiPeri, Long and Rivera sat down together to talk about the production. 
Why did you decide to audition for Anything Goes
DiPeri: I love Anything Goes. I grew up listening to it. My typical role is comedic-supporting — the funny guy — and I have such respect for the comedy in classic musical theater, because stylized comedy is difficult to do; it’s a challenge to bring that to audiences today, and that challenge was attractive to me. 
Rivera: It was my love for classic musicals. I love Cole Porter, and I’m obsessed with that time frame. This role especially has been a dream role of mine. [Reno] has a lot of sass and strength and sensuality, and it’s been a dream role, so I’m very excited. 
Long: It’s hard not to love Anything Goes. I was in it in middle school as a passenger on the boat. It’s just one of those shows that you’ve got to do. 
What’s the biggest challenge with playing your character? 
Long: One of the biggest challenges for me is that I have to change disguises four or five times during the show, so the challenge is keeping each character separate when Billy is tricking people and remembering what voice to do and when to be big here or small here while still retaining his original identity. … The romantic lead needs to have a quirkiness to him, but also needs this honesty and stillness, so juggling between those and finding a balance is my biggest focus. 
DiPeri: For me, it’s finding Moonface’s voice — the classic, rough-around-the-edges gangster who thinks he’s scarier than he is. He’s typically played by an older actor, and older actors have more freedom to be deadpan and rely on the voice they have, but I didn’t want to try to be older. I can’t rely on deadpan in straight delivery, so finding that voice was a real challenge for me. 
Rivera: Reno’s character is modeled after the Hollywood movie star-type, very glamorous, sassy and strong. I think it’s easy to play that character as very hokey, so what I’m working on is keeping that glamour and that bigness to her without losing her as a person.  
What about the music in Anything Goes appeals to you? 
DiPeri: I think Cole Porter’s lyrics are really clever and ahead of his time. When he wrote this, it was very courageous for the time. He’s one of the founding fathers of musical theater. Our musical director has done a wonderful job in preparing us as an ensemble and as soloists to be able to tell this story in the best way and that’s accurate to the time period. 
Long: It’s nice because all of the music is very well-known and popular. A lot of the licks in [Porter’s] music have been borrowed by other well-known musicals. People will know at least 70 to 80 percent of the music, so everyone leaves the theater with a tune in their head and a hop in their step.
Rivera: I just love his melodies. They’re beautiful and catchy, romantic and classic. 
What can we expect from the set and the costumes? 
Rivera: The costumes are absolutely stunning and gorgeous with lots of sequents and glitter. 
DiPeri: I love how we’ve executed the set. There will be a full ship on stage with two levels and stairs and doors that people go through, so you really feel like you’re watching people on a cruise. It’s very visually intriguing. 
Long: You could say the set and the ship is a character in itself. 
How do you keep a classic musical that has been produced countless times fresh and relevant for today’s audience? 
DiPeri: This is the first time the director has done this play, so he brings a really fresh eye to it. A classic piece of musical theater like this tends to be looked at as stale and old, but with the updated choreography we’re doing, it’s a more contemporary look at a classic. 
Rivera: If anything, the choreography we’re doing is more complex than most Anything Goes [productions]. One example is “Near the Top,” which is usually just [performed by] Billy and Reno, but in this version that we’re doing, we made it a big swing dance number with all the dancers, so it’s a lot more interesting visually.  
Long: The coolest thing about Anything Goes is that the comedy never gets old. The atmosphere on stage with the dancing and songs doesn’t get stale, and the writing is so tight and clever, it has something for all ages and something for everyone to enjoy. 

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu