Book by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse (revised by), John Weidman & Timothy Crouse (revised again in the late ’80s, the best version, very funny.)
Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter (Yup – six people to write the admittedly clever script, and one to write the score.)

INFO:

Opened at the Alvin Theatre   November 21, 1934   420 performances. (revived very often, for an additional many hundreds of performances on Broadway.)
Original Director: Howard Lindsay
Original Choreographer: Robert Alton
Original Producer: Vinton Freedley (who had the idea for the show!)
Original Leads: Reno: Ethel Merman   Billy: William Gaxton    Moonface: Victor Moore
Cast Size: Male: 4   Female: 4   Ensemble:  Large    Total Cast Size: 8 plus at least 16, more like 20.
Orchestra: 17. A version for 9 musicians is available, with at least four of the parts optional.
Published Script: None.
Production Rights: Tams Witmark
Recordings: The 2011 adaptation is the sharpest version, fast-moving, totally pro. Kathleen Marshall aced the show as a Director, Sutton Foster is fantastic in a role created originally by Ethel Merman, so is Joel Gray, and there are more of those wonderful Porter songs than ever. It’s a feast!
Film: Filmed in 1936, and 1956. The ’36 starred Merman and Bing Crosby. In ’56, Der Bingle did it again, this time with Donald O’ Connor and Mitzi Gaynor. In ’54 a TV version starring Merman and Frank Sinatra was aired, with the great Bert Lahr as Moonface Martin.
Other shows by the authors: Lindsay & Crouse were famous for straight (non-musical) plays like Life With Father. Weidman: Fiorello Wodehouse & Bolton: Many Musicals with Jerome Kern and others. Porter: Kiss me Kate, Can-Can, Silk Stockings
Awards: Pre-Tony awards. For the 2011 revival, Foster won for Best Actress in a Musical. She was wonderful in it. Patty Lupone won in ’87, for an earlier revival. A great role for a strong Musical Comedy actress.

WHO SHOULD DO THIS SHOW:

Great fun to be had by all! A tight, professional, very funny, entertaining Musical Comedy with some of the best show tunes ever written. Long a favorite of High Schools, Little Theaters, Dinner Theaters. Can be done by colleges and universities with strong dance departments, regional theaters with large casts available to them. Broadway, of course, and the West End.

Be Warned:

A huge cast of actual characters, which may be seen as an opportunity to provide a lot of talented actors in a company an opportunity (it is), but which will also quickly unveil weak links in casting.

A lot of chit chat and some suggestive by-play (always comic) regarding sex. We don’t actually see anything, but it’s very much implied. If your actors or audience are intolerant of such Musical Comedy hi-jinks, then…why are you thinking about doing a Musical Comedy? Anyway, pick another one.

THE STORY: (Outline of the newest version, using more of Porter’s songs than the original, off the Tams Witmark site.)

ACT ONE: Elisha Whitney, a successful Ivy league Wall Street banker, waits impatiently for his assistant, Billy Crocker, to meet him at a New York City bar. Billy is to drop off some items Whitney needs for his vacation, and Whitney has to give Billy instructions to sell some stock for his personal account. It turns out that Billy forgot his boss’ passport, so he will have to deliver it to Whitney on the cruise ship the following morning. Coincidence has it that Billy’s old friend Reno Sweeny, a sexy Evangelist turned nightclub singer, plans to travel on the same boat as Whitney. Reno is interested in Billy romantically (“I Get A Kick Out of You”), but Billy explains to her that he is in love with a girl named Hope. Reno even invites Billy to join her on the trip (There’s No Cure Like Travel”), but Billy just isn’t interested in her that way.

Transatlantic voyages usually draw celebrities and, therefore, photographers. But Charlie Chaplin cancelled his plans on the ship at the last minute. This leaves Hope Harcourt, the American debutante, to photograph. She is traveling with her fiance Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a wealthy Englishman, and her mother Evangeline Harcourt, a widow. The photographers are not impressed by the Minister Henry T. Dobson and his two Chinese converts, but they take notice when Reno Sweeny and her four Showgirl Angels board the ship. Coincidence has it that Evangeline and Whitney are old friends.

When Billy boards the ship to drop off Whitney’s passport, he finds out that his long-lost love, Hope, is a passenger, and is to be married. As Billy tries to find Hope before the ship leaves the dock, two pushy F.B.I. agents force Billy to show them where the Minister is. Billy inadvertently identifies Minister Dobson as Moonface Martin, a gangster and Public Enemy #13, to the F.B.I. agents. Dobson is thrown in the ship’s brig, and his two converts are allowed to wander the ship without supervision. Moonface and his friend Erma are indebted to Billy, and thank him by giving him their friend’s unused ticket and room. The problem is that their friend who didn’t make it on board is Snake Eyes Johnson, Public Enemy # 1, and wanted by the F.B.I. too. Now Billy is mistaken for Snake Eyes (Mr. Murray Hill Flowers on the ticket), and must disguise himself for the rest of the trip in order to stay out of jail. He must also stay out of Whitney’s sight, because his boss specifically sent him off the ship and back to work. Billy thinks all this trouble is worth while, since he has the chance to convince Hope to fall in love with him.

Billy convinces Reno to help him win Hope’s heart (You’re The Top”). After the ship leaves the dock, Billy is able to spend some time alone with Hope because Evelyn is seasick. He sings her “Easy To Love”. Billy goes so far as to disguise himself as a sailor with Erma’s help. He convinces Evangeline Harcourt the boat is sinking, and convinces Whitney the whipped cream he throws on his glasses is from a seagull. Moon also helps Billy with his cause, by tricking Whitney and taking his glasses. Not only can Whitney not see Billy, but he can barely see anything during the whole trip. In fact in a funny scene, Whitney thinks he is proposing marriage to Evangeline and ends up asking the ship’s Purser to marry him. Moon and Reno come up with a plan for Reno to seduce Evelyn, and break up Evelyn and Hope. Reno and Moon sing “Friendship”. Although the plan fails, Reno realizes she really likes Evelyn and is genuinely interested in him romantically.

At one point Billy disguises himself with a beard made of Evangeline’s dog’s hair. Minutes later Billy is dressed as a ludicrous version of an English gentleman, while Moon wears a white coat and carries a butterfly net. Billy and Moon try to convince Evangeline that her daughter is about to marry a crazy man, but Billy’s true identity is revealed before they are able to convince Evangeline that Evelyn is crazy. Billy’s next disguise is as an old lady in a wheelchair, and he sings “It’s DeLovely” with Hope.

The Purser finally catches Billy, who he thinks is Snake Eyes Johnson. But instead of being afraid of Snake Eyes, the passengers welcome him aboard and celebrate the criminal (“Anything Goes”).”

ACT TWO: To get some attention himself, Moon confesses his true identity -Public Enemy Number One. Reno encourages Billy to pursue Hope. Moon uses his newfound notoriety to marry Reno’s Angel, Virtue, in a fake ceremony. During Reno’s Sermon/Nightclub act, many passengers confess to immoral behavior in the past. Evelyn is among the confessors, with the admission of an affair with a Japanese girl many years ago. Reno encourages more confessions with “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and Billy is next when he admits he is not really Snake Eyes and that he is on the ship to chase Hope. Billy and Moon are finally sent to the ship’s brig, and Hope sings “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye” sadly.

In jail Moon tries to cheer Billy up with “Be Like The Blue Bird”. Hope sends Billy a note, and they sing “All Through The Night”. Later that night Evelyn realizes and professes his love to Reno. He plans to carry out his obligation to Hope and marry her, through “The Gypsy In Me”.  The two Chinese converts run wild on the ship without Reverend Dobson’s supervision, and finally get themselves thrown in the brig with Billy and Moon. Reno visits the men in jail, and tells them that she and Evelyn are in love with each other. Billy and Moon trick the two converts in a game of strip poker, and change clothes with them. Instead of the converts being released from jail, Billy and Moon are set free just in time to stop Hope’s wedding to Evelyn.

Erma opens the final scene with “Buddie Beware”. Reno joins Billy and Moon in their effort to break off the wedding. Reno pretends to be Evelyn’s illegitimate daughter from the affair he confessed to during Reno’s sermon. Evelyn is flustered by his unknown daughter’s appearance, and almost lets Whitney pay her off to disappear. Hope stops this from happening by coming up with a plan to pay the debt of honor: to even the score Evelyn must offer Hope to Plum Blossom’s relative, who is actually Billy. Now Hope and Billy, and Reno and Evelyn are together. Evangeline Harcourt is irate about this arrangement, because this means her daughter is not marrying a rich man. Whitney saves Evangeline’s day by proposing, but she may end up like her daughter – in love but poor – because Billy never sold Whitney’s stock for him. Whitney gets lucky and his stock goes through the roof. All three happy couples marry.

THE SONGS:

“I Get A Kick Out Of You”, “There’s No Cure Like Travel”, “You’re The Top”, “Easy To Love”, “The Crew Song”, “There’ll Always Be A Fair Lady”, “Friendship”, “It’s De-Lovely”, “Anything Goes”, “Public Enemy Number One”, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”, “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye”, “Be Like The Blue Bird”, “All Through The Night”, “The Gypsy In Me”, “Buddie Beware”

Hits include “I Get A Kick Out Of You”, “You’re The Top”, “Easy To Love”, “Friendship”, “It’s De-Lovely”, “Anything Goes”, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”, and “All Through The Night”. (Wow!)

MY OPINIONS:

You can choose to skip or ignore my opinions and rating, as always, but then, what follows…well, anything goes.

This is probably Porter’s second best show, after Kiss Me, Kate. It has been rewritten many times, and each time, an effort was made to shoehorn in progressively more Porter hit songs, of which there are very many. As it stands in this version, the book is tight, professional, and entertaining. The show moves very quickly, scenes are brief but effective in a Musical Comedy way, and the show definitely works.

That said, it could use a few minor trims that date the material somewhat. The opening verse for “Be Like The Blue Bird” is nothing but confusing today, as are some of the added sections of “You’re The Top”, an overrated song (did I say that?) which fails to get many laughs now because of as list of archaic references. Songs like “I Get A Kick Out Of You”, and “All Through The Night” are not likely to date because of their lyrics, as there are no time-specific references in them. There are a few lines in the script, references to celebrities of the ’30s, that also won’t play well now. I understand the desire to create ambiance and a sense of the period, but when it’s at the expense of the audience’s ability to understand and hence enjoy the show, the references need to go. This isn’t War and Peace, it’s a silly, slightly brittle Musical Comedy. Verisimilitude of period is not required of it; that it entertains is.

In its recent incarnation, it became clear that this show is one of the highlights of the early Musical Comedy era, and one of the few Musical Comedies from the ’30s that will still hold up and be able to be performed. Usually those shows pass from the repertoire not so much because of their scores – we still sing the songs from a dozen Rodgers and Hart shows that no one will likely ever see again. The shows generally die because their books are patchworks, quickly written, funny perhaps to the audience they were intended for, but no longer. Some such shows were written about or around a current event, barely masked if at all. Needless to say, anything that happened in 1935 is not current today, though it may still be germane. (An economic low is something we’ve experienced of late, as the ’30s saw the Great Depression.)

But the book for Anything Goes was written by fine comic craftsmen, and has been rewritten by two sets of good writers. I think it’s safe to say that its book has had more professional attention in terms of rewrites than any other show from the period. Fortunately, instead of becoming a hodge-podge, the writers have been able to make the convoluted story, fueled by silly sight gags and equally silly characters whose actions often make little sense, into a smoothly running, Swiss-watch-like affair that gets a lot of laughs and entertains with consistency. No small accomplishment.

This is a large show, with a lot of talk in it about (though no real display of) sex. Couples shuffle and rearrange as they do in Shakespearean comedy, without the real motivation sometimes, or the depth, but with the same expedience as in, say A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is a silly, fun, bright, sexy show that should entertain us for a while to come.

MY RATING: * (A better-than-average and interesting show, right for many groups.)

PRODUCTION CONCERNS AND IDEAS:

DIFFICULTY OF MUSIC:

It’s a lot of music, and Porter rarely composes a straight 32 bar song, as so many others did in his day. A Musical Director will need to understand Porter’s songs, play well, and be a fine teacher. Not a job for a novice.

Reno Sweeney – An alto with a titanic belt and fantastic breath control. Dry, edgy delivery, very clear lyrics.

Billy Crocker – Tenor, nice mid-register, clean and ideally well-supported high notes.

Hope Harcourt – Soprano, pure quality, good emotional expression, clean upper register.

Moonface Martin – Lyric baritone, comic delivery, gangster with a NYC accent.

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh – Baritone, comic role, strong upper Brit accent.

Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt – Some singing, mezzo, not much.

Erma – (Moonface’s sidekick) Mezzo with a belt, good comic ability with lyrics.

Elijah J. Whitney – Spoken role.

Reno’s Angels (Purity, Chastity, Faith and Virtue) – Belt voices, strong mid-ranges.

Lady Fair Quartet – Four men with barbershop-like ability to harmonize, smooth mid range, clean top notes that are unstrained.

Luke, John – Non-Singing (can double in ensemble)

Captain – Non-Singing (can double in ensemble)

Steward – Non-Singing (can double in ensemble)

The Right Reverend Bishop Henry T. Dobson – Non-Singing (can double in ensemble)

Ensemble – All must sing well enough, harmonize well, good belts.

DIFFICULTY OF DANCE, CHOREOGRAPHIC CONCERNS:

This is a dance show, with huge tap numbers when done up to its potential. The Choreographer for Anything Goes is going to be very busy indeed. There are also many solos and duets which should be the Director’s domain. No Director should approach this show who isn’t comfortable staging small romantic numbers. But even in those numbers, when the characters dance, they should really do so and the Choreographer should be brought in.

A Choreographer is probably going to be involved in staging all or part of “There’s No Cure Like Travel”, “You’re The Top”, “Easy To Love”, “The Crew Song”, “There’ll Always Be A Fair Lady”, “Friendship”, “It’s De-Lovely”, “Anything Goes”, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”, “The Gypsy In Me”, and “Buddie Beware”. Trust me, that’s a lot of dance.

“There’s No Cure Like Travel” is just a set up for starting off the boat scenes, the bulk of the show. Keep it simple, it’s background, transitional. You can use this number to have the actors imitate ocean travel (swaying back and forth), to help establish that we are now at sea.

“You’re The Top” is a comic duet between two people who like each other, and perhaps in past have more than liked each other. There should be some electricity between them that makes us wonder for much of the remainder of the show if perhaps they do not belong together. But the lyrics here are king and must be heard; the movement cannot get in the way. Keep it simple, sweet, fun.

“Easy To Love” can contain in it a sweeping Fred & Ginger-type dance for Billy and Hope. This is a specific style of dance typical of the ’30s. If you are unaware or uncomfortable with it, you probably aren’t the right Choreographer for this show, but at least learn it. It is an exaggerated, expert form of ballroom dance. It should be very romantic, filled with contact and near and suggestive contact.

“The Crew Song” is sort of “Nothin’ Like A Dame” lite. Let the manly-men of the crew be manly, and amorous, without investing much time in the movement. Same with “Lady Fair”, but that one’s smoother, more romantic.

“Friendship” is another comic duet, where the “friendship” indicated cools as the song progresses. Are the characters kidding when they each suggest the other could die and it would be of no consequence? Comedy works best when it’s real, but they do work together. Anything for love, and it’s a funny idea to have crime and religion/show biz link arms in song. This is a number the Director should probably handle.

“It’s De-Lovely” is an opportunity, as a recent production did, to magically trot out dancers in romantic embrace. You could have the ship suddenly come alive with gowned women, tuxedoed men, romantic couples all dancing together in the Fred and Ginger school. A bigger dance than “Easy To Love,” as the show should escalate.

“Anything Goes” should be a massive, act-ending number built around Sweeney. Lots of dance, tap, a long dance sequence with variation and inexhaustible energy, a celebration of life and love. It should bring down the house and imply that anything goes not just in life, but in tap and dance as well.

“Blow, Gabriel Blow” is another huge number built around Sweeney and, this time, her four angels. They start out in polite choir robes, perhaps, but those get stripped down to as little and as revealing as possible, as the number becomes a sort of early sample of Burlesque. The lyric may sound like it’s about religion, but it’s not. This is how Sweeney earns her living and reputation – public performances that mark her as a bad girl and an “It” girl, with male admirers falling over themselves to offer her their lap. High energy, lots of dance.

“The Gypsy In Me” is essentially a solo where a stuffy English Lord cuts loose and allows his Inner Gypsy romantic and over-the-top comic expression. It should be choreographed, and Reno should be caught by pleasant surprise.

“Buddie Beware” is essentially a big number for a secondary character (Erma) and her many admiring sailors, used to cover costume changes to prepare for the big wedding scene that closes the show. It is not a particularly strong number, so keep the hi-jinks suggestive, fun, racy, high-energy.

You’re going to need real dancers to play Reno, Billy, Hope, the Angels, and in your ensemble. It’s a dance show.

CASTING CONCERNS:

Reno Sweeney – 30s-40s. A hard-drinking, hard-living evangelist turned nightclub performer, a sort of Amy Semple MacPherson gone wild. Sexy, charismatic, smart, aggressive, street-wise, blessed with boundless energy and ambition. A woman who expects and demands that men admire her. Must dance very, very well. Cast for voice, type, dance, acting in that order, but she’ll need to have the whole package. A star.

Billy Crocker – Early 20s-30ish. A romantic leading man with an edge. Slippery, clever, over-emotional; when he falls in love, he falls hard. Handsome and charming enough that women fall quickly for him. Must dance very well. Cast for voice, dance, type, acting – but must be strong at everything.

Hope Harcourt – About Billy’s age. A debutante, raised in wealth that has now evaporated, and engaged to a British Lord who will restore her family to wealth, though she’s unsure how she feels about the man. So, dedicated to her family, sacrificing. Sweet but indecisive to the point of being a bit annoying. Must dance. Cast for voice, dance, type, acting.

Moonface Martin – 30s-50s. Public Enemy number 13, a comically amoral man who will do anything to help the young love birds, including blithely murdering their competition. Unaware that he is funny, always serious, always committed to the life he’s leading. A dangerous man and a cream puff who longs for acceptance and even fame. Cast for type, acting, voice, some dance. A really fun role.

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh – A mature man, 30s-50s. Appealing, probably handsome, but so stuffy and proper that his mannerisms become comic. Cast for acting, type, voice, some dance.

Mrs. Harcourt – Mid 40s-50s. Hope’s strapped and somewhat desperate mother. Pushy, aggressive, determined to return to wealth. Not unappealing for her age. Cast for type, acting, limited voice.

Erma – Moonface’s sidekick, in her 20s-30s. Sexy, hot criminal who will (and does) sleep with any sailor, anywhere, anytime, no questions asked. Not terribly bright, but she is canny and street-wise. Cast for type, voice, dance, acting, but should be good at everything.

Elijah J. Whitney – Billy’s boss, around Mrs. Harcourt’s age. Seemingly a bit senile, but overall happy-go-lucky, looking for ways to enjoy the last part of his life. Cast for type, acting.

Reno’s Angels (Purity, Chastity, Faith and Virtue) – In their 20s, generally. Gorgeous, sexy, none-too-bright but who cares, they’re Musical Comedy stereotypes. Cast for type, dance, voice.

Lady Fair Quartet – Sailors in their 20s-30s, hunky, hard-working and hard-playing.

Luke, John – Two Chinese converts to Christianity, in their mature years (25-55). Easily confused and taken advantage of. Cast for acting, type. (Should double in ensemble.)

Captain – In his 40s-60s, a businessman with an eye for an opportunity, more than a captain. Likes attention, the smell of fame around him. Cast for acting, type.

Steward – In his 30s-50s, officious, easily alarmed, over-emotional. Cast for type, acting.

The Right Reverend Bishop Henry T. Dobson – Middle-aged to elderly, an honest and religious man with a mission, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cast for type, acting.

Ensemble – All must dance, sing well. They play wealthy people on board, generally.

SETS:

The show is generally played on a kind of unit set. The sets are essentially a bar, where the action opens. Then, the main deck of the ship, where most of the play takes place. Adjoining staterooms for Moonface, and Whitney. A large, plush stateroom for Lord Oakleigh. A showroom on board (but this could be eliminated in favor of the deck, and often is).

With a proscenium stage, the bar can be (and should be) played on the apron, in front of the closed main drape. It’s an unusually intimate opening scene for a big Musical Comedy, meant to introduce the two main characters. Keep it intimate, whatever you do. On a unit set, play it in isolate light, the cut-away of the end of a bar, a few stools.

Then, reveal the ship. Two-three stories, usually, a real set, and where 90% of the action will transpire. A lot of dance is going to take place on the revealed “decks”, so make them stable (and soundless…). It is a cruise liner for the rich, in the 1930s, but one sailing through some hard times.

The staterooms can be created on a proscenium stage with a drop across center, or a lowered cutaway or rolled-on box set. You’ll need beds and such, but keep it pretty simple. On a unit set, it’s going to be harder to do these. Depending on the configuration of your theatre, you might place these at the top end of an aisle. Just a thought. If not, you’ll need to march on a bed, a few chairs, a big bed for Oakleigh’s room. (The two-room set with Moonface and Whitney’s room could double as Oakleigh’s larger room. Make the “wall” separating the two rooms removable.)

The “stage” for “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” could simply be a raised platform (barely raised, a step) with a backdrop that indicates this is a show on an expensive cruise liner. Or you could set up deck chairs on the deck, and perform there, eschewing the need for another set.

The main set will probably be expensive and a real build. But it is essentially a one-set show with two minor add-ins. Once set up, the ship should probably remain on stage, except in the most expensive productions. The carpentering and design work is not for a beginner, the set must be stable, and strong. A backdrop behind the ship of blue, almost clear skies will help us feel a bit like we’re at sea.

COSTUMES:

This is a period piece, and takes place in the Astaire-Rodgers ’30s. So look at those films and you’ll get ideas for costuming. But your show won’t be in black-and-white. So also examine color photography and even painting from the period. These can be rented, almost assuredly.

Sailors are easy to costume, any rental shop will have what you need for that. Same thing with reverends. Reno dresses to show off her lovely and appealing figure, but does so with money and style. Her angels, and Erma, do the same with progressively less money or style. Hope dresses like a debutante for the period, her mother dresses expensively, but perhaps her clothes show some distress.

Rich men, like Whitney and Lord Oakleigh wear tuxes…as do most of the male passengers. That’s easy to rent, too.

Specialty costumes for Billy are required – sailor pants that are too small, Asian costuming (stolen from Luke and John). And Reno must dress as Plum Blossom at the end. (Yup.)

Most of this show can be rented from good costume shops. If you are going to build gowns, get an early start and make sure you understand the period. With all costuming for this show, remember that the performers are going to dance a lot! Leads sing a lot, as well. They must have clothes that will give, breathe, work for this.

Not a show for a beginner, it’s just too large. And get the shoes and jewelry right!

PROPS:

A tommy-gun for Moonface. A violin case for the tommy-gun. Drinks at the bar for the first scene. Cards for the prisoners in the brig. A fan for Reno, as Plum Blossom? There are likely to be a number of specialized props. Start early. Everything needs to look period correct.

LIGHTING:

This is a big Musical Comedy. Big fun numbers like “Anything Goes”, and “Blow Gabriel, Blow” should really pop, but somehow look different from each other. (“Blow” could be at night, under starry skies, lit steamily.) Moodier but often large numbers like “Easy To Love” and “De-Lovely” can be moodier, more nighttime-oriented, but must also pop. The more theatrical duets and solos like “Blue Bird”, “Friendship” and “You’re The Top” could use follow spots. It’s that kind of show.

There are likely to be a lot of cues. Not a job for a novice.

MAKE-UP:

Unobtrusive. Reno may need wigs, as may some of the other ladies, to play the period. Hair styles must be in the period for men and women. Not a job for a beginner.

KEY PERSONNEL (The ones you MUST get right.):

Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, Set Designer, Costume Designer, Reno Sweeney, Billy, Moonface.

MY THOUGHTS:
The 2011 production starring the amazing Sutton Foster was fantastically-well directed, and surprised me. This show still works! The audience was entertained, had great fun, and were reminded of what a professional Broadway Musical looks and feels like.

That said, this show has a limited shelf-life.

Some of the lyrics are going to date this show, as well as some of the dialogue. The entire opening of “Be Like The Blue Bird” references Nellie Melba, whom no one recalls today. There are references throughout “You’re The Top” that are similarly dated, and even some dialogue, such as a joke about Noel Coward, Porter’s good friend.

I think other qualities may eventually doom this show to be excluded from the repertoire. It is a dance show, with a fair amount of tap in it. But tap is unquestionably a dying branch of dance at this time. The entertainment world has moved into more violent, overtly angry or physical forms of dance, and fewer and fewer dancers integrate tap into their learning regimen. There may always be some dancers who tap – but will an audience care, say even ten years from now. The audience that went to Broadway expecting big tap numbers was still alive when shows like 42nd Street could win mass support. But they’re gone now, for all intents and purposes.

Dance shows (and this is one) run the risk of becoming dated because their highly successful dance styles worked for the period they were first composed to be performed in, and no more. I include some mighty successful and important shows in this category, such as Oklahoma, West Side Story, and 42nd Street. Other shows date because of subject matter. Singin’ In The Rain is a great movie (my favorite Musical written expressly for film rather than adapted to film from stage) and a fair stage show. But its time is passing, because today, no one watches silent movies, and the era when sound came in (1927) is unknown to almost anyone younger than say 80. When the movie was made, in the 1950s, the sound revolution was less than 30 years back. Now it’s over 80 years back.

A human story sometimes has to have potential to survive, even when the core subject matter becomes archaic. But the characters, the humans in the piece, must move us in some way that we can identify with them, for that to happen. Anything Goes is, in the end and in its silly way, about people who will do anything to be in love, and to be with the person they believe is the one for them. That sentiment is not likely to go out of date. The Porter songs are often delicious in construction and melody, with scintillating lyrics…and it’s possible, in the end, that they will be the reason this show passes from the repertoire as the world moves ever deeper into R&B and the like. The well-written song has become a dinosaur in many respects. Time will tell, and well, as Porter himself would say, anything goes. But I think you’re good to go with this show for perhaps a while longer. And you’ll have fun doing it!