“Anything Goes” – ASU Gammage

This review aired on KBAQ November 15, 2012


Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

After so many mediocre touring Broadway shows at ASU Gammage in the last few seasons, it’s great to attend the rousing “Anything Goes” production this week.

The top-notch staging duplicates the successful Broadway revival of the popular 1934 Cole Porter musical hit that is filled with song classics.  The sophisticated book is loaded with clever dialogue while the silly but charmingly fun story creates a rich environment to display Kathleen Marshall breezy staging and delightfully varied choreography.  The spirited dance numbers zing, the songs are sung by the top flight cast, and are played by a spirited orchestra.

Add a marvelous cast and you have a beguilingly entertaining show.  Star Rachel York sings winningly, handles the show’s wry wit with the perfect style, and she dances brilliantly displaying endless energy and panache.

“Anything Goes” feels like a typical ‘30s musical with it’s charming but inane story about love and finding the right partner but, like other shows of this vintage, the story is not that important.  “Anything Goes” is a farce set on an ocean liner headed for London from New York.  The song hits are impressive and include “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “It’s De-lovely,” “All Through the Night,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” and the title tune.  It was originally written for the great Ethel Merman.

The cast recreates the show with style and flair.  York essays Reno Sweeney, a singer who plays the field in high society.  Hope Harcourt, played lustily by Alex Finke, is set to marry Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, played with a stiff upper lip by Edward Staudenmayer, but she really loves stock broker Billy Crocker, played with suave sophistication by Erich Bergen.  Adding comic sparkle are Joyce Chittick’s Emma and Fred Applegate’s Moonface Martin.

Marshal’s zippy staging is played in front of Derek McLane’s nice Art Deco sets and Martin Pakledinaz’ flowing period costumes.  Seymour Red Press conducted the robust orchestra that brings sparkling panache to Porter’s score.

“Anything Goes” is one of the most entertaining shows to hit ASU Gammage in quite sometime.  It earns five stars out of five.  It’s an amusing delight.  The only negative is that this toe-tapping winner is only at ASU Gammage through November 18.  For tickets, call the Ticketmaster box office at 800-982-2787 or order tickets online at www.asugammage.com.

Grade: A