noreSERVations @ “Anything Goes”

May 20, 2009

By nhfnews columnist Will L.

Last week in Manhattan, the hottest ticket in town wasn’t to Wicked at the Gershwin Theater or to West Side Story at the Palace Theater.  On Thursday and Friday, crowds left Broadway and were flocking to Simon Baruch Middle School’s production of Anything Goes at M.S. 104.  Fortunately for us, NHF decided to send us to experience the show firsthand.  When we arrived at the box office, the ticket cashier asked us, “Do you have a reservation?” – to which our response was “noreSERVations.”  With playbills in hand and no reservations, we walked into the packed theater and thoroughly enjoyed the 8th annual production from Gramercy’s most beloved director, Ken Ko.

We knew we had a special evening in store for us when the director gave a touching speech to introduce the show.  In his speech, Ken thanked the parents for allowing him to work with their children for the past five months.  It was evident that Ken had grown to love each of them in a special way through their rehearsal time together.  In his recounting of the audition experience, Ken recalled the feeling he had every time a student tried out and he realized that they were the perfect choice for a part.  Ken described the feeling as a voice inside him exclaiming, “THAT’S THE ONE!”  His story gave us a sense of the deep connection he has with his students.

 Ken’s heartwarming speech had the audience moved with emotion and grown men crying (or maybe just me), but the show provided enough humor and singing to quickly turn our tears to laughter.  Anything Goes is the story of Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street broker smitten by a beautiful girl, Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to be married to a British fellow.  Billy sneaks onto a ship to chase after Hope, and hilarity ensues as he takes on various disguises to evade authorities while trying to convince her that he’s the “one”.  The catchy melodies of such songs as “Bon Voyage,” “It’s Delovely,” and “Be Like the Bluebird” had us humming along; the witty jokes throughout had us cracking up in laughter; and the special effects used in a scene where a girl gets hit over the head with a bottle had us gasp in horror.  But nothing surprised us more than the numerous romantic scenes, many of which involved…kissing!  Sure, the kissing was staged, but I can’t help but wonder how much practice it took to make those scenes convincing.

 We enjoyed ourselves so much that we’ve decided to make this outing noreSERVations’ first annual event by going back next year!  For those of you who missed out, you’ll get another chance next year.  And as we’re expecting a larger group, rest assured that we will be making reservations next time.

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