See ‘Anything Goes’ at the Stadium Theatre

See ‘Anything Goes’ at the Stadium Theatre

Reno Sweeney with her Angels in “Anything Goes,” are, from left, Helena Medici, Mia Berube, Lisa Ziniti Palmer, Kaylee Arruda and Brenna Griswold.

WOONSOCKET – Brian Lopes is first and foremost an actor. But he’s always wondered what’s “on the other side of the process.

“To help mold an entire show just interested me so much,” he said. “To see the show through the eyes of all characters rather than just one was always something I wanted to do.”

So, when the team at the Stadium Theatre asked him to direct their summer offering, “Anything Goes,” he grabbed the chance.

“I love the show,” he said. “It’s lighthearted and sincere. It combines the best parts of a stage musical. Great music, insane dance numbers, comedy, and a love story.”

And he’s got a little affinity for it, having played Billy Crocker in his high school production about 18 years ago.

“It’s one of those shows that has always stayed with me,” he said.

For the uninitiated, “Anything Goes” is billed as a series of madcap antics aboard an ocean liner, the SS American, traveling from New York to London in the 1930s. Music and lyrics are by Cole Porter.

Lopes says he came into the production expecting that the tough part of directing would be the “behind the scenes stuff. Costumes, props, marketing, set design. But my team has made all of that a lot easier by being amazing at what they do.”

He said he has found the hardest part of directing is in “walking the line of letting my actors explore and find their characters and interjecting my vision into those characters as well without overpowering their process.”

Lopes finds that his experience as an actor is helpful there.

“Learning how to develop a character has given me insight on how certain characters perceive their dilemmas. It helps me see the forest through the trees,” he said.

He said he likes the collaborative process.

“The entire process is stronger when you have the director and actor working together to achieve a common goal, “he added. “It also lets both parties point out things the other may not have thought of or noticed.”

Lopes likes the cast and crew he’s assembled.

“We have a deep and talented pool of actors. We have a large array of dancers and great singers,” he said. “So many, we were able to have a dance corps and a singing corps. They sound and look amazing.”

He’s very happy with his leads, Lisa Ziniti Palmer as Reno Sweeney and Mike Buck as Billy Crocker. “Lisa’s dancing and singing are paramount, and her character work is amazing. She plays sexy and powerful as well as vulnerable and gentle equally well,” says Lopes. “Mike has an amazing range both vocally and as an actor. And while you might not think it upon first glance, the boy can move. Goofy and suave are natural for him.”

Lopes also has high praise for his crew, starting with his wife, Ashley Lopes, who’s working as stage manager. “She’s been my fountain of knowledge. She has directed so many great shows and I know she will give me honest feedback if something isn’t working.”

Brittany Dyer’s musical direction “has been honest and critical with the cast about how things sound.” Julia Nelson’s choreography has been “intense. There was no taking it easy. These amazing numbers are not for the faint of heart.”

He’s especially fond of his costumers, Teal Griswold, Eve Lajoie, Brenna Griswold and Lauren Beaudoin.

Lopes’ one-line pitch to get people to come see “Anything Goes?”

“It’s an evening of incredible singing and dancing combined with a lighthearted love story,” he said.

The Stadium Theatre presents “Anything Goes” this Friday through Sunday, July 13, 14 and 15. Visit www.stadiumtheatre.com, or call 401-762-4545.