Roundabout Theatre Company laid out the gangplank for a first preview on March 10 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Tony Award winner Foster plays the nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney, who gets the lion's share of hit songs by composer-lyricist Porter: "You're the Top," "Friendship," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "Anything Goes."
Tony winner Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town) directs and choreographs the 1934 confection, which has songs by Porter and a libretto by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, who drew on the original Depression-era script (by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse) for this 1987 version of the show (it was named Best Revival at the Tony Awards that season). Crouse and Weidman have tweaked the script, slightly, for this staging, Marshall told Playbill.com.
Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Women, Shrek the Musical) plays Reno, whose love interest is Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, played by British star Adam Godley (of the most recent Broadway Private Lives). Tony winner Joel Grey (Cabaret, The Grand Tour, Chicago) plays a low-grade, charming public enemy named Moonface Martin.
Laura Osnes (South Pacific, Grease, Bonnie and Clyde) plays Hope Harcourt, the ingenue sought by Billy Crocker (played by Colin Donnell, once of Jersey Boys and recently of Merkin Hall's All the Things You Are concert).
John McMartin (Follies, Sweet Charity, A Free Man of Color) plays Elisha Whitney, who is smitten with Hope's mother, Evangeline, played by Jessica Walter (Broadway's Rumors and TV's "Archer" and "Arrested Development"). The company also features Walter Charles as the Captain, Jessica Stone as man-trap Erma, Robert Creighton as Purser, Andrew Cao as Luke, Raymond J. Lee as John, with Clyde Alves, Ward Billeisen, Joyce Chittick, Nikki Renée Daniels, Margot De La Barre, Kimberly Fauré, Josh Franklin, Justin Greer, Daniel J. Edwards, Tari Kelly, Shina Ann Morris, Linda Mugleston, Kevin Munhall, Adam Perry, William Ryall, Jennifer Savelli, Anthony Wayne and Kristen Beth Williams.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
According to Roundabout, "When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention head out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love… proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail."
Donnell told Playbill.com, "The thing that we really wanted to get across from the very beginning is that Reno is a very viable love interest for Billy. They're pals, but beyond that, there's an attraction there that's a lot of fun for Sutton and I to play, and we're finding it right off the bat."
Foster explained, "Reno is a character who seemingly has everything. She's a star, and she has her own club and she has men all over her, but she doesn't have love. And the guy that thrills her loves someone else, but she loves him and cares about him and they're friends — and so she helps him find love. She discovers someone else, someone unexpected who's ultimately perfect for her. It's been really fun to just develop relationships among all of us. I have three leading men, between Joel Grey, Colin and Adam [Godley], so it's kind of great. I get to fall in love with all three of them, really."
The score also includes 'It's De-Lovely," "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye," "Easy to Love," "All Through the Night," "The Gypsy in Me," "Buddie, Beware" and more.
The creative team includes Rob Fisher (musical director), David Chase (who penned new dance arrangements for the production) and designers Derek McLane (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lights) and Brian Ronan (sound).
The original production of Anything Goes starred Ethel Merman as Reno. The first Broadway revival of the show was produced by Lincoln Center Theater at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1987. Patti LuPone starred. That version of the property is being revived by Roundabout.
There had been an earlier rewrite of the property that played Off-Broadway's Orpheum Theatre in 1962, starring Hal Linden and Eileen Rodgers. For 25 years, it was the primary licensable version of the title, and spawned a cast album (introducing show tune fans to such interpolated oddities as "Heaven Hop" and "Let's Step Out"). A 1988 studio recording of the score as it would have been heard opening night (with original tempos and orchestrations) was released by EMI Classics, with Kim Criswell as Reno and Frederica Von Stade as Hope. It was under the music direction of the late conductor and music historian John McGlinn, who added an appendix featuring songs written for but not used in 1934.
A cast album for this production has not yet been announced. Read a survey of existing Anything Goes recordings in Playbill.com's On the Record column.
Tickets for Roundabout's Anything Goes are available by visiting Telecharge.com or calling (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250. Visit roundabouttheatre.org.
View highlights from the show: