The Playbill Vault Remembers Tony Award Winner Ethel Merman

By Megan Dekic
16 Jan 2014

In 1934, Merman created the role of Reno Sweeney in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes. The production also starred William Gaxton as Billy Crocker and Victor Moore as Moonface Martin. Merman and the cast performed the now-classic tunes "I Get a Kick Out Of You," "You're the Top" and the title song.

The musical opened at the Alvin Theatre on Nov. 21, 1934, to rave reviews. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times called Merman and Gaxton "a pair of performers who can make every note burst with vitality and every line sound like a masterpiece of wit." The show went on to play 420 performances.

Anything Goes was first revived on Broadway in 1987 with Patti LuPone in the role originated by Merman. A 2011 revival starred Sutton Foster in a Tony-winning performance as Reno Sweeney.

Read a Playbill from the original production of Anything Goes here.