Running To Places Opens 2011 with “Anything Goes”

by imageguy

Ithaca theater goers were treated to more outstanding performances from local area youth at the State Theatre as Running To Places opened their 2011 season January 14th-16th with an amazing production of “Anything Goes”.

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Wonderful stage sets and a stellar pit band complimented these talented performers as weeks of rehearsals gave way to three days of great entertainment.

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Outstanding performances were given by Sari Koppel as Reno Sweeny, St. John Faulkner as Billy Crocker, Kevin Hilgartner as Moonface Martin, Jacob Clay as Elisha J. Whitney, Sarah Beckwith as Hope Harcourt, James Palmer as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, and Jenna Ledet as Emma.  Hats off too to Todd Petersen, choreographer, for great dance numbers from the entire cast.

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“Anything Goes” by Cole Porter is a funny, door slamming, high energy production that takes place on board a ship as Billy Crocker stows away to try and win the hand of his true love, Hope Harcourt, who is scheduled to marry Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. With the help of wanted criminal Moonface Martin, the radiant evangelist Reno Sweeny, and Moonface’s companion Emma, Billy plots to foil the marriage as they all seek to evade capture from pursuing FBI agents.

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Meanwhile, the always intoxicated Elisha Whitney tries to woo Hope’s mother. Filled with great songs and dance numbers, it’s got to be one of the most entertaining classic shows ever from Broadway, and was done with such style and professionalism by all these young performers.

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Throughout the show, Sari Koppel gave one amazing vocal performance after another, both solo and in duets with St. John (“You’re the Top”), and what was probably the hit number of the show,”Friendship”, with Kevin, garnering cheers from the audience every night. Another crowd favorite was Kevin’s rendition of “Be Like The Bluebird” as Moonface and Billy sat in the brig. St. John and Sarah sang tenderly to each other throughout the night and danced gracefully across the stage.

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Certainly one of the most entertaining performances came from James Palmer as he let go with abandon to “The Gypsy In Me”. Bravo, James, Bravo! The sailors of the ship (Alex Crenshaw, Anthony Nigro, Felix Perry-Fernandez, Marcel Merwin, and Matt Avery) were hypnotized by Jenna Ledet (Emma) in “Buddie, Beware” and gave a fun performance of their own in “There’ll Always Be A Lady Fair”. The night was simply filled with one fabulous performance after another. The entire cast was terrific.

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Great music, thanks to musical director, Tom Peters, and conductor, Michael Wade and the entire pit band. Daniel Moss did the set design, Laura Krassowski the lighting, and Kathyryn Vega the costumes. Director was again the amazingly talented Joey Steinhagen, and stage management from Joey’s co-artistic director of Running To Places, Gail Belokur. A long list of additional cast and crew added much talent and expertise to make this a stunning opener for the season. In a few short weeks, they’ll be back with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” at the fabulous new Hangar Theatre. Get your tickets early, it’s bound to sell out.

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Thanks to everyone at Running To Places, Joey, Todd, Gail, and all the fantastic young people that make this company so much fun and so entertaining. You’re all terrific!

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All images are Copyright © George Cannon.

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