Anything Goes has one of the best scores in musical history, along with one of the silliest books.
Classic Cole Porter tunes like “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You” are dropped into a screwball shipboard plot involving people hiding, others chasing, and a dog missing, all leading up to breathless love matches wrapped up for the foofy finale.
In the current version, other Porter standards like “It’s De-Lovely” and “Easy to Love” have been added and they’re not intrusive, since the show is hardly a model of construction anyway; it’s just a glorified excuse for musicalizing and hijinks.
The Kathleen Marshall-directed-and-choreographed production is fizzy enough, especially when the two showstoppers — the title song and “Blow Gabriel Bow” — unleash dizzying tapping served with giddy joy.
But there are slowish stretches when a few not-great songs pile up in a row.
And the star?
I’ll be crucified for saying this, but Sutton Foster is a wee bit miscast as Reno Sweeney.
Unlike Merman and LuPone before her, she doesn’t summon hardboiled brassiness with ease.
But Sutton’s such a pro, with tons of spunk and a great deadpan, and on the numbers she soars and makes the mismatch less of a world crisis.
For an extra treat, there’s a male pretending to be a woman and a drunk rich guy who comes on to a sailor!
Gosh, 1934 was fun!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 7, 2011