Trevor Nunn's upcoming revival of Cole Porter's Anything Goes will begin previews at the National Theatre on Dec. 11 prior to a Dec. 18 opening.
Appropriately enough for a play set at sea, this production will be a transatlantic one, an American musical performed by a British cast.
Cole Porter was himself an Anglophile who spent much of his life in Europe, so he would have been delighted to have a musical of his at the National. Trevor Nunn has made something of a specialty of musicals during his career — with Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady two recent successes — and has preferred to direct American ones. The cast Nunn has collected for Anything Goes suggests that he's going to end his reign at the National in spectacular style.
Sally Ann Triplett, who will play celebrity evangelist turned nightclub entertainer Reno, is one of our most talented musical performers, who scored a great personal success in Jolson at the Victoria Palace six years ago, and who was as effective in the smaller-scale musical Rags at the Bridewell. Denis Quilley, who has a very long association with the National's musical productions, will play Eli Whitney, and John Barrowman will reprise the role of Billy Crocker that he played back in 1989 at the Prince Edward opposite the Reno Sweeney of Elaine Paige.
Barrowman is well known to West End audiences for his performances in Sunset Boulevard and Miss Saigon, and is also popular with American audiences. He was recently in Stephen Sondheim's Company at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Anything Goes is a classic 1930s (Broadway 1934, London 1935) musical and includes standards "I Get a Kick Out Of You" and "You're the Top."
The National has commissioned a new book of the musical by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman — the original was by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse. Anything Goes has the sort of comic plot — with fugitive gangsters, upper-class twits and brassy showgirls — that Wodehouse reveled in, and it will be fascinating to see how the new book looks when the National finally unveils its production in December.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow