February 28, 2012

Stephanie J. Block as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes

Background: Last Tony Awards season, one of the most talked-about performances was  that of Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes. Anyone who watched last year’s Tony Awards remembers her infamous eight-minute tap number during which she effortlessly tapped... and tapped... and tapped... and tapped... and then belted out a very high note and did it quite well!  That Tony Award is well-deserved!  
This past November, Sutton Foster took a three-week hiatus from the show to film a pilot for a new series called Bunheads (which has been picked up by ABC Family). It was announced that Stephanie J. Block would step in to play Reno Sweeney for three weeks.  I was so excited because I’d been wanting to see her perform live for quite some time and finally, I had a three-week window to do just that!  On November 19th, I scored the last remaining rush ticket for the evening show and saw her perform. 
There will be more about Stephanie’s performance below, but suffice it to say she gave a wonderful performance as Reno. Sutton returned to the show at the end of November. It was announced last week that Sutton Foster will leave Anything Goes on March 11 and... as of March 15th, the role of Reno will be played by none other than Stephanie J. Block!  

Here are some reasons why you should check out Anything Goes with Stephanie J. Block starring as Reno Sweeney! 
1.) She’s a pro. Let’s backtrack. Back in November, she was offered the part at the last minute and had just two weeks to rehearse and one put-in rehearsal before performing in front of a real audience (according to her interview on playbill.com).  How does anyone learn the music, choreography, and blocking of a show in just two weeks? She did it and she did it well because she’s a pro. 
2.) SHE CAN SING. Her voice= POWER.  I really enjoyed her interpretation of Cole Porter’s songs.  I think my favorite part of her performance was her great voice.  It was flawless. 
3.) Watching her perform the two big dance numbers, Anything Goes and Blow, Gabriel, Blow, I never would have guessed how new the choreography was to her.  Her dancing was really polished. 
4.) She had great chemistry with Joel Grey as Moonface Martin! You will laugh through Friendship. She just had great comedic timing in general!  
5.) She looks like she’s having the best time on stage. Watching her perform makes you unconsciously smile. 
6.) She was enthusiastic, positive, and grateful for the experience of playing Reno, despite the lack of rehearsal time (this is based on my perceptions of her interview on playbill.com back in November, 2011). I love that she was not afraid to step into a “mammoth” role (played in the past by Ethel Merman, Patty LuPone, Sutton Foster...) with so little rehearsal time.  
So go check out Stephanie J. Block as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes starting March 15th!  You won’t be sorry!  

1 comment:

  1. Definitely going to check her out, been wishywashy on AG for awhile, as Ive seen the show before, and have been lukewarm about it. I like the music a lot, however! Even the cast wasn't a reason to see it, as Id seen Sutton before. BUT...like you, I haven't seen SJB live..and have always wanted to! Your blog def helped me make up my mind! Thank God for Hiptix :)