Anything Goes

a kate west review
music and lyrics by Cole Porter
directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall
a Roundabout Theatre Company Production
at the Ahmanson Theatre/Center Theatre Group/L.A. Music Center
135 North Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90012

contact 213-628-2772 or Center Theatre Group
running November 27, 2012 - January 6, 2013

In the spirit of retro glam so popular these days, the Roundabout Theatre of New York brings the 1930's Cole Porter musical, "Anything Goes" to Los Angeles, home of Hollywood glitz. A match made in Heaven. Hey, if you're in the mood for fast-talking molls and tap dancing, well, everyone, this is the holiday show for you. And yes, Cole Porter's famously romantic music holds up quite well in setting the mood for this fun little jaunt overseas.

Reno (the impossibly perfect Rachel York) has the hots for Billy (smoothly portrayed by Erich Bergen) who pines for Hope (Alex Finke). Throw in the odd gangster (Fred Applegate as the gruffly fun Moonface Martin) and you have madcap misunderstandings and mistaken identities galore. When they all chase each other onto a luxury ship, appropriate hijinks ensue. Guaranteed.

The set design by Derek McLane puts us all right on top of a smooth sailing ocean, with mini cabin scenes and majestic ballrooms and Martin Pakledinaz gives us lovely old time costuming, all of which will have you yearning for the nostalgic. Then there's the music. Each song is more famous than the last, including the title song "Anything Goes", as well as "I Get a Kick Out of You", "Blow, Gabriel, Blow", "It's De-lovely" and "Friendship". And right again, you will leave the theater humming at least one of the above. Good singing and even greater dancing transports us to just the right amount of escape, thanks to Kathleen Marshall's professional directing. 

Granted, you may not be completely immersed, but even as you are aware you are watching a show, you'll give in to the broad style and occasional silliness, in spite of yourself. Some of you may even remember the grand Broadway Dame Ethel Merman's turn as Reno, immortalizing many of the tunes. This show is certainly a classic. And there is not much to complain about in this impeccable production. Edward Staudenmayer might be a bit much with his way-over-the-top Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, but then again his character is supposed to be ridiculous. The dancing however, is impeccable and as pictured above, awfully fun to watch. And it just flies by. Entertainment for the whole family. Promise.

So be sure to catch the next voyage, if it happens to land at a theater near you.

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