What could be a better way to spend a Friday night than being outside and enjoying a night of theater with family and friends? I can’t think of anything! Moonlight Stage Productions is a spectacular venue in Vista, CA. It is an outdoor amphitheater 40 minutes outside of San Diego. Each summer they put on a series of musicals that are performed under the stars. When I heard “Anything Goes” was in the lineup I knew I had to see it.
Cole Porter is a brilliant composer. Even though he wrote the music and lyrics in 1934, they are timeless and witty. Two of his most famous hits that are done time and time again are “You’re the Top” and “Friendship”. Many stars such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Ethel Merman have sung these tunes.
The first act finale “Anything Goes” is a wonderful rousing number. When Reno sings “In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking now heaven knows, anything goes!” people can connect immediately. In a time of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Eminem it seems as though anything does go now! The ensemble did a brilliant job singing and dancing together during the song. The musical break had a lovely tap scene that left everyone smiling.
The second act song “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” reminded me of “Sit Down You’re Rockin The Boat” from “Guys and Dolls”. It was done very well and another great company piece. The choreographer Jon Engstrom did an outstanding job pushing the actors to their limits. The tapping looked very difficult but was executed perfectly.
Each of the main leads contributed a lovely piece to the puzzle. Reno Sweeney’s (Tracy Lore) role is one of my favorites. Her songs are beautiful, smart, and most importantly, fun. Hope Harcourt (Courtney Fero) had an angelic soprano voice which blended well with Billy Crocker (Jeffrey Scott Parsons) her male counterpart. Moonface Martin (Barry Pearl) and Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Nick Tubbs) were cast perfectly as comedic reliefs. Each did a wonderful job with their character roles. Their solos were performed well and were very entertaining. They truly embodied their parts.
Moonlight’s value to cost is definitely worth the investment. They have traditional seating as well as lawn seating in which you can sit on a blanket and they provide lawn chairs as well. In addition, you are able to bring food and eat while watching the show. We had nine people in our group on Friday night and we enjoyed the lawn seating. Some of my friends packed a picnic and we all sat together. The venue is a great size and no matter where you sit, you feel close enough to see the cast.
Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the theater box office. They have family discounts as well. “Anything Goes” runs now through September 8th. The final production of the 2012 season will be “Sweeney Todd” September 19th – October 6th. For tickets and information check out: www.moonlightstage.com