Grosse Pointe Theatre’s performers in “Anything Goes” include GPT newcomers and veterans  who’ll entertain audiences with stellar singing, tap dancing and comic timing.

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s performers in “Anything Goes” include GPT newcomers and veterans who’ll entertain audiences with stellar singing, tap dancing and comic timing.

Photo by Dale Pegg, provided by Grosse Pointe Theatre

Fun new production of ‘Anything Goes’ is ‘see’ worthy

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 8, 2023

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Take a trip on the high seas aboard the S.S. American when Grosse Pointe Theatre stages the Cole Porter and P.G. Wodehouse musical “Anything Goes” from Nov. 10 to 19 at Pierce Middle School in Grosse Pointe Park.

The classic musical follows evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer Reno Sweeney — played by Danielle Caralis, of Grosse Pointe Park — as she traverses the Atlantic Ocean from New York to London. Her friend, Billy Crocker — played by Mario Simone, of Rochester — is a stowaway trying to win back his girlfriend, Hope Harcourt — played by Sarah Noble, of Berkley — before she weds the wealthy Lord Everlyn Oakleigh — played by Tim Reinman, of Grosse Pointe Farms. Adding to the witty chaos is the presence onboard of notorious criminal Moonface Martin and his sidekick, Erma, played by Nick Marinello, of Mount Clemens, and Kaela Green, of Royal Oak, respectively.

“The story is light and frothy and fun,” said Marinello, whose character is Public Enemy No. 13. “You kind of find yourself floating.”

The show is directed by Don Bischoff, of Clinton Township. GPT is staging the most recent revision of “Anything Goes,” from a 2022 script that has eliminated the racial and ethnic slurs that marred the original version, which dates to 1934. “Anything Goes” has been revised several times since 1934, with the 2022 version being the most recent.

“I love the music,” said Bischoff, who called the show “very comical.”

Bischoff made his GPT debut the last time GPT staged this show 23 years ago, when he played Billy. This is also the fifth production of “Anything Goes” that he’s done, having performed in productions at Macomb County Community College and GPT, and having directed the show at Grosse Pointe North High School and for the Birmingham Players.

Caralis played Reno in Bischoff’s “Anything Goes” production for Birmingham Players, and he’s happy to have her in his cast again.

“No one can belt like Danielle,” Bischoff said.

Caralis is equally thrilled to again be tapping in Reno’s shoes.

“I love Reno,” Caralis said in an email interview. “I would play her 8 times a week, if I could. She is charismatic, clever, persuasive, and extremely confident — all things I strive to be myself. And my version of her tap dances up a storm!”

Simone — who dons disguises to conceal his identity on the ship — pretends to be different people, from an elderly woman to a Southern sailor to an English aristocrat. It gives him an opportunity to use a range of different “silly voices,” a skill he developed growing up that he rarely gets to use now.

“It’s a wonderful show,” Simone said. “I hadn’t seen it staged before. More than anything, I enjoyed the character of Billy. I love all the comedic acting, and I love to sing.”

Green, another of the cast’s standout vocalists, is enjoying playing a bombshell, which is a new type of role for her.

“Cole Porter’s music is really fun to listen to,” Green said. “It’s set on a cruise ship to London. I feel like I’m on vacation. … I feel anyone who comes will leave feeling refreshed.”

The ornate, self-contained ship set contains a number of Art Deco period details that help to set the 1930s scene.

The cast also includes Theresa Selvaggio, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Eddie Tujaka, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Charlie Rinderknecht, of Grosse Pointe Woods; and Bob Montgomery, of Grosse Pointe Farms. The ensemble consists of Audrey Brennan, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Alison Grojean, of St. Clair Shores; Catherine Pearson, of Troy; Ashley Trefney, of Detroit; Heather Yeaw, of Dearborn; Keith Rikli, of Belleville; Ryan Quinn, of Clawson; Zak Shugart, of Chesterfield Township; Kyle Weatherbee, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Brett Wotherspoon, of Roseville; Dante Bufalini, of St. Clair Shores; Stephanie Capps, of Warren; Jillian Evennou, of St. Clair Shores; Kristina Kamm Mardlin, of Warren; Cara Motzkus, of Grosse Pointe Park; and Kaila Szafranski, of Utica.

The cast and crew say this family-friendly musical, with show-stopping choreography and songs like “I Get a Kick Out of You” and the title track, make for a light-hearted night out.

“You’re going to want to set sail with ‘Anything Goes’!” Caralis said. “You’ll be a part of the spectacle; singing along with classic Cole Porter songs, tip tapping your feet along with us, and laughing from beginning to end! Don’t miss it!”

Tickets to “Anything Goes” cost $35 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by visiting or calling GPT at (313) 881-4004. Pierce Middle School is located at 15430 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park.