“Anything Goes” at PlayhouseSquare
PlayhouseSquare launches the national touring production of Anything Goes with the sexy, sultry, and sensational Rachel York as Reno Sweeney. Cole Porter’s classic and madcap voyage on the high seas was the winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. With so many modern musicals coming into town these days, no matter how wonderful they might be, it is so nice to see a good revival of a great classic, once in a while. And like South Pacific and West Side Story two seasons ago, Anything Goes provides for this happy diversion.
Anything Goes takes place aboard the S.S. American. By a chance encounter, Billy Crocker has fallen in love with the beautiful Hope Harcourt. And when Billy sees off his boss, Elisha Whitney, on a business trip to London, he happens to see Hope again. Hope is also traveling to London with her mother, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, and her fiancé, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a stuffy British nobleman. Despite the fact that Hope is engaged to Lord Oakleigh, Billy stows away on the ship with the hope and intent of winning Hope’s heart.
Billy’s old friend Reno Sweeney, an evangelist turned nightclub singer, is traveling aboard the same ship, as are Moonface Martin, “Public Enemy 13,” and his man-crazy friend and moll Erma, who are disguised as a minister and a missionary. And when all of these crazy characters come together, nothing but fun, and funny, chaos ensues. Featuring some of Cole Porter’s most classic and beloved songs, Anything Goes is an absolutely delicious treat.
Although I was already familiar with Anything Goes, this newer, modern take is like nothing I have ever seen or could ever have imagined. The story still takes place in 1934, but with today’s high technology and 21st century theatre conventions, this old-time classic is given a vibrant new life in the most beautiful, innovative and magical way possible. Everything from the sets and costumes to the choreography and dance numbers are top of the line. And did I mention that Anything Goes features some of Cole Porter’s most classic and beloved songs? Oh, I did? Well, it’s worth repeating! Two thumbs up for this exceptional touring production. You may not see anything better all year… but then again, this is Cleveland and PlayhouseSquare!
Anything Goes will run through October 14 in the Palace Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. The 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series will continue with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (November 6–18, 2012), Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (January 15–27, 2013), Sister Act (March 5–17, 2013), War Horse (April 9–21, 2013), Guys and Dolls (May 1 – June 23, 2013), and The Book of Mormon (June 18 – July 17, 2013).
PlayhouseSquare is the 2nd largest performing arts center in the nation, after Lincoln Center in New York. And it continues to bring the best of Broadway to Cleveland, in addition to a wide array of concerts, comedians, special events, and other programming. For more information about PlayhouseSquare or the 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series, please visit www.PlayhouseSquare.org.
– Christopher S. Musselman