Original Book by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton
and Howard Lindsy & Russell Crouse
New Book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman
Directed & Choreographer by Kathleen Marshall
Music direction by Jay Alger
National Tour produced by Roundabout Theatre Company
At the Palace Theatre, Chicago
Funny, tuneful and magnificent production of a great classical Broadway musical is a joy to behold!
It has been years since I’ve been able to enjoy this classic Broadway musical, Anything Goes. With all the blandly inept new musicals coming to Chicago over the last few years, it is a pleasure to see the National Tour of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Anything Goes. This toe-tapping nicely goofy show has all the elements of a wonderful musical. From the 1934 pre-book era, the story is abut lovers, liars and wacky clowns on a transatlantic cruise. As the S.S. American travels out to sea, etiquette and societal norms are gone as two unlikely pairs struggle to acquire their true loves. These couples get help from a crew of singing sailors and a gangster that uses zany humor from a bunch of lovable characters each with deft comic timing. Did I mention that Anything Goes has one of the greatest score ever penned for the stage? And director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall’s smart and inventive choreographer adds much enjoyment especially in the two main show-stoppers: the act ending “Anything Goes” tap number and the magnificent “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” were stunning.
When you add memorable standards like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Friendship,” “It’s De-lovely” and “All Through the Night,” Anything Goes unfolds as a throw-back fabulous old-style musical comedy! From the vivid Art Deco-styled set (designed by Derek McLane) with the period-perfect costumes (by Martin Pakledinaz), the Roundabout Theatre Company’s tour of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes is the finest production to grace the Chicago stage in years!
The stellar cast is lead by the tour de force performance by Rachel York as the spunky Reno Sweeney. York sings, dances and charms us into the wacky world of the adventures on the cruise to Europe. She is terrific in this show. She gets help from an assortment of outstanding comic players. Josh Benton is the macho crooner and love-interest Billy Crocker as well as from Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin and, Chicago’s own Dennis Kelly as Elisha Whitney and Edward Staudenmayer, as the stuffy Brit Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Excellent voice of Alex Finke , as Hope Harcourt and Joyce Chittick, as Erma add to the depth of this very funny and quite charming musical.
This tight, well-staged show is an eye-popping, toe-tapping spectacle filled with rich humor, terrific dancing (especially the tap numbers like “Anything Goes”). But it is the charming performance by Rachel York that anchors this mist enjoyable show. This show is a lesson for young aspiring writers and producers as how to thoroughly win audience approval–just find witty and smart songs and put them in wacky and totally humorous situations filled with strong voices and zestful dancing (and , of course, use melodic tap numbers). That is what you get when you get to the Palace Theatre to see Anything Goes. I can’t remember enjoying a musical as much as I did with this bouncy and charming production! The opening night audience gave the show a rousing standing ovation. This is a family friendly production. Hurry, you only have until May 5 to enjoy this fabulous musical.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: April 24, 2013
For more info checkout the Anything Goes page at theatreinchicago.com, tickets $27 -$95, running time is 2 hours, 35 minutes with intermission, through May 5, 2013