In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked at as something shocking but now -- there's the Howard Stern Radio Show, Jerry Springer and sex scandals beleaguering every public figure you can think of, from the President of the U.S.A. to the GM of the New York Mets. Lord knows, Anything Goes.
Well, the times may have changed since Cole Porter penned that hit musical, but we can still appreciate the simpler, jazzier times the show represents, and Philadelphia theatregoers will be able to enjoy such Porter tunes as "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "I Get A Kick Out Of You" when Anything Goes opens on the Walnut Street Theatre mainstage Nov. 18. Previews began Nov. 10 for a run through Jan. 3, 1999.
Walnut Street veteran Frank Anzalone (1776, Vanities) directs, with Mary Jane Houdina providing choreography.
Set aboard the S.S. American luxury liner, Anything Goes centers around nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (Karen K. Edissi), dashing stowaway Billy Crocker (Abe Reybold) and his debutante girlfriend Hope Harcourt (Jennifer Lee Andrews, who starred in the Walnut's recent Triumph of Love). Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse all collaborated on the book for Anything Goes, which features such Porter tunes as "You're The Top" and "It's De-Lovely."
According to a Walnut spokesperson, this Anything Goes takes its cue from the 1962 Off-Broadway version of the show. Designing this Anything Goes are Jeffrey Koger (lighting), Scott Smith (sound) and Anne Sheffield (costumes). Charles S. Kading's set will work from the Tony-nominated design for the last Broadway revival, by Tony Walton. (Patti LuPone received a Tony nomination for her Reno Sweeney in that mounting.)
Co-starring with Edissi, Reybold and Andrews in the Walnut Anything Goes are Dan Schiff (as mobster Moonface Martin), Beth Glover, Tom Ligon (taking the place of previously announced Daren Kelly, who will instead join the tour of Broadway's Footloose), Mary Ann Gibson, Barnard Wurger and Randolph Walker.
Upcoming shows in the Walnut Street Theatre mainstage season are Neil Simon's Hotel Suite, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women and the musical Grand Hotel.
For tickets ($8-$45) and information on Anything Goes at the Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, call (215) 574 3550 or check out their website, http://www.wstonline.org.
-- By David Lefkowitz