Times Have Changed! Stephanie J. Block Is New "Reno" of Broadway's Anything Goes

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23 Feb 2012

Stephanie J. Block in <i>Anything Goes</i>.
Stephanie J. Block in Anything Goes.
Joan Marcus

Stephanie J. Block, the game leading lady who stepped into the tap shoes of Sutton Foster in Anything Goes in fall 2011, when Foster was filming a TV pilot, will permanently take over the role of Reno Sweeney this spring. Foster's pilot is now a series.

The Tony Award-winning Roundabout Theatre Company staging of the Cole Porter musical, directed and choreographed by 2011 Tony winner Kathleen Marshall, will welcome Block (The Pirate Queen, 9 to 5: The Musical) starting March 15 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

Two-time Tony winner Foster (who snagged her second Best Actress Tony for Anything Goes in 2011) will depart March 11 to begin filming ABC Family's new drama series "Bunheads." She was previously announced to perform through April 29.

Tony and Academy Award winner Joel Grey will continue to perform the role of Moonface Martin through April 29.

Tickets are on sale through Sunday, Sept. 9. A national tour launches this fall. Marshall won the 2011 Tony for Choreography for the tap-happy Anything Goes.



Block joined Anything Goes Nov. 4, 2011, for a limited engagement as Reno Sweeney while Foster filmed her pilot, crated by "Gilmore Girls" writer Amy Sherman-Palladino.

The Anything Goes cast currently features John McMartin as "Elisha Whitney," Julie Halston as "Evangeline Harcourt," Colin Donnell as "Billy Crocker," Erin Mackey as "Hope Harcourt," Robert Petkoff as "Lord Evelyn Oakleigh," Jessica Stone as "Erma," Walter Charles as "Captain," Robert Creighton as "Purser," Andrew Cao as "Luke," and Raymond J. Lee as "John." Additional cast members include Lawrence Alexander, Leslie Becker, Brandon Bieber, Ward Billeisen, Daniel J. Edwards, Kearran Giovanni, Justin Greer, Derek Hanson, Tari Kelly, Michelle Loucadoux, Shina Ann Morris, Kevin Munhall, Mary Michael Patterson, Hayley Podschun, Brandon Rubendall, William Ryall, Jennifer Savelli, Vanessa Sonon.

Block, who earned a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her most recent Broadway outing in 9 to 5: The Musical, told Playbill.com last fall that she would be performing the same vocal and dance arrangements as Foster. "The only thing that we've adjusted is that I do not do the splits in 'The Gypsy in Me,'" Block said. "Other than that, nothing's been modified."

Block played Reno — an evangelist-nightclub singer — to Nov. 23, and appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The musical won the Tony Award as Best Revival of a Musical.

Block made her Broadway debut as Liza Minnelli opposite the Peter Allen of Hugh Jackman. She also portrayed Elphaba in the Broadway company of Wicked and Grace O'Malley in The Pirate Queen. She was also seen Off-Broadway in Meet Vera Stark, and her regional credits include Funny Girl, Crazy for You (L.A. Ovation Award nomination), Oliver (Critics Award, Best Actress) and James Joyce's The Dead.

Anything Goes, the musical comedy set aboard a transatlantic cruise ship, is a revision of the 1934 Broadway musical that had music & lyrics by Cole Porter and original book by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse. The new book is by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman.

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