Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There Are Remakes and There are Rebirths, "Anything Goes"

by Good News Reviewer
Joanne Quinn-Smith

There are remakes and then there are rebirths!

Anything Goes” 2011 Tony ® Award Winner—Best Musical Revival
Splendid production of Roundabout Theatre Company’s ANYTHING GOES! For those of you who have never seen the fifties movie, Anything Goes is a 1956 American musical film directed by Robert Lewis and starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Jeanmaire, and Mitzi Gaynor. Now I don’t really remember Bing Jeanmaire but I do remember Bing and Donald and Mitzi.  The plot is different but the songs remain as big and bold as ever.  So in this stage version, When the S.S. American heads out to sea, etiquette and convention get tossed out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love... The musical is strewn with old fashioned burlesque antiques with a new twist and of course the memorable songs of Cole Porter. 

At intermission theatre goers did not walk out in search of a drink but to find someone to talk about the musical with.  A stranger walked up to me after the ensemble rendition of “Anything Goes” at intermission and said, “This is sooooo BIG!  He had left his wife’s side because she was busy commenting to someone else and was just bursting to get his opinion out.  He told me he wasn’t a theatre enthusiast but came to make his wife happy and was so excited when he heard what the choice was for that evening.  Like him I felt that it was one thing to watch Bing and Donald and Mitzi in the movie but it was totally another to watch Rachel York FILL UP the stage with her presence as Reno Sweeney.  Admittedly there were some grand performances but York dwarfed everyone else with a combination of Mae West, Marlena Dietrich and Lauren Bacall ATTITUDE!  

Peppering this timeless classic are some of musical theater’s most memorable standards, including “Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and of course, “Anything Goes.” As York sings the most popular of these classics “I
Photo Credit: © Joan Marcus, 2012  Roundabout Theatre Company, "Anything Goes"

Get a Kick Out of You” could feel a collective sway in the room.  But when she and the ensemble “grace” the audience with “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” the energy was astounding.  It seemed at points in time in the production that almost thirty dancers commanded the stage at once in deft precision.

There was sentimental romance and slap stick comedy and then there was Moonface Martin’s rendition of: “Be Like a Blue Bird” showing sheer talent from Fred Applegate.  He is a veteran master of timing and delivery.  Also Josh Franklin as Billie Crocker was true to the best Hollywood characters as a combination of the boy next door and a typical tall, dark and handsome character who played extremely well as the love interest of both Reno and Hope Harcourt (Alex Finke.)  And Alex, although her voice seemed a bit small compared to the orchestra music played the female coquette of the era to a T. 

Also hats off to the scenery with rooms rolling on an off the larger stage.  Also the dancers are to be commended for the routines done on balconies and stairs.  This was truly a musical that took the minds of America off their troubles and lift their hearts to new heights.  Now that’s entertainment, big and bold.    

Let us not forget that opening night in Pittsburgh was the day after most of the country had watched the Boston Marathon Bombings Play out all day on television in front of the country.  Thank you to all of the actors for giving us a welcome respite in the midst of grief we felt for our brothers and sisters in Boston.  Thank you for this rebirth of an American Classic complete with the songs of Cole Porter that so easily fill your heart and full of characters that will burn in one’s memory.

Radio Host and Serial Blogger, Joanne Quinn-Smith is the host of PositivelyPittsburghLive™ Internet Talkcast and TechnoGrannyShow™  On her shows, Joanne has interviewed over 1800 guests.  As an advocate for small Business, she was awarded the National Small Business Administration Journalist of the Year Award.  She is also the publisher of which is a 2010 National Stevie Award finalist for best Media Website or Blog. PPL Mag features the GOOD NEWS, about Pittsburgh  and is  Pittsburgh’s First internet radio and TV network. PPL Mag attracted 2.25 million visitors last year.  Her radio network has accumulated over one million listeners. The Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates, Joanne also teaches her online media platform building to small businesses in a client personalized, “Web2.0 Gorilla Branding Training™”.  Connect with Joanne at:

No comments:

Post a Comment