The S.S. America sets sail from Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s port of call beginning on September 21st and cruising on until October 7th. Leading the barrage of tapping feet and belting jazz voices is Lisa Manuli, tackling the iconic role of Reno Sweeney; first played by the Mother of all Broadway divas Ethel Merman, and subsequently played on Broadway by Patti Lupone and Sutton Foster. Ms. Foster won the 2011 Tony Award for her portrayal of Reno (the former evangelist turned nightclub singer,) and the same production won Tony Awards for Best Choreography and Best Revival of a Musical. Now Atlanta audiences will have the chance to be a part of the infectious Cole Porter songs and constant mishaps that fill Anything Goes.
Ms. Manuil is making her Atlanta Lyric debut, but Atlanta audience may have seen her in Annie at the Fox with Theatre of the Stars or at the 14th Street Playhouse in Motherhood: The Musical. Originally from Carmel, NY she now resides in Douglasville. “It wasn’t until I was in high school that I had a choreographer tell me ‘Lisa, if you want to do musical theatre and have a career in it you have GOT to get yourself into dance class. Period.” Now Maunli, who takes classes whenever she can, and with Anything Goes’ period specific and intense tap breaks, Manuli is working “twice as hard and giving 200%.”
Manuli is passionate about portraying Reno Sweeny for live audiences. “Personally, I love everything about the character of Reno. She is deceptively complex. There is so much musical farce happening within Anything Goes. There’s everything from mistaken identities, to funny disguises, to fast paced slapstick involved. Yet within this realm of farce, there’s Reno, the one with the movie star quality who always keeps it together; the one who always keep HERSELF together. There is a rhythm to her character that, many times, is in opposition to what is going on around her.”
Atlanta Lyric Theatre previously presented Anything Goes several seasons ago, but according to Dianne Butler, Atlanta Lyric’s Director of Marketing and Community Relations “We have cultivated a whole new audience since relocating from The Ferst Center on the GA Tech campus. Our original audiences absolutely loved the show, so we knew would be thrilled to see a remount of it!” Added to that the recent success of the Broadway Revival it seemed like “perfect timing to bring it around again!”
Performance dates and times are:
September 21, 22, 23 Friday & Sat. @ 8:00, Sun. @ 2:00
September 27, 28, 29, 30 Thurs., Fri. & Sat. @ 8:00, Sun. @ 2:00
October 4, 5, 6, & 7, 2012 Thurs., Fri. & Sat. @ 8:00, Sat. & Sun. @ 2:00