Anything Goes is a 1934 musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The original book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, heavily revised by the team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13, “Moonface” Martin, aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. The musical introduced such songs as “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” Since its 1934 debut at the Alvin Theatre (now known as the Neil Simon Theatre) on Broadway, the musical has been revived several times in the United States and Britain and has been filmed twice. The musical has long been a popular choice for school and community productions.
The original idea for a musical set on board an ocean liner came from producer Vinton Freedley, who was living on a boat, having left the US to avoid his creditors. He selected the writing team, P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, and the star, Ethel Merman. The first draft of the show was called Crazy Week, which became Hard to Get, and finally Anything Goes. The original plot involved a bomb threat, a shipwreck, and human trafficking on a desert island, but, just a few weeks before the show was due to open, a fire on board the passenger ship SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of 138 passengers and crew members. According to one version,
Freedley judged that to proceed with a show on a similar subject would be in dubious taste, and he insisted on changes to the script. However, theatre historian Lee Davis maintains that Freedley wanted the script changed because it was “a hopeless mess.” Bolton and Wodehouse were in England at the time and were thus no longer available, so Freedley turned to his director, Howard Lindsay, to write a new book. Lindsay recruited press agent Russel Crouse as his collaborator, beginning a lifelong writing partnership. The roles of Billy Crocker and Moonface Martin were written for the well-known comedy team William Gaxton and Victor Moore, and Gaxton’s talent for assuming various disguises was featured in the libretto. Porter wrote the majority of Anything Goes in the Rosecliff mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, while staying as a houseguest there.
Four versions of the libretto of Anything Goes exist: the original 1934 libretto, the 1962 off-Broadway revival libretto, the 1987 revival libretto, and the 2011 revival libretto. The story has been revised, though all involve similar romantic complications aboard the SS American and feature the same major characters. The score has been altered, with some songs cut and others reassigned to different scenes and characters, and augmented with various Porter songs from other shows.
Original 1934 Libretto
Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street broker, has fallen in love at first sight with a beautiful girl he met in a taxi. His boss, Elisha J. Whitney, is preparing to make a business deal and is going to travel to London aboard the SS American. Evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney will be traveling aboard the same ship. Billy sees Reno as a friend, but she obviously has feelings for him (“I Get A Kick Out of You”). Billy goes to the dock to say farewell to his boss and Reno (“Bon Voyage”), and glimpses the mysterious girl again. He learns that she is heiress Hope Harcourt and, escorted by her mother, Mrs. Harcourt, is on her way to England with her fiancé Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a handsome but stuffy and hapless British nobleman. Billy stows away on the ship in hopes of winning Hope’s heart. “Moonface” Martin, a second-rate gangster labeled “Public Enemy 13,” and his girlfriend, Bonnie, have disguised themselves as a minister and a missionary and, innocently aided by Billy, board the ship under their assumed identities, stranding the ship’s real chaplain back at the port. Moonface and Bonnie mistakenly leave behind their leader, “Snake Eyes” Johnson, Public Enemy 1.
To thank Billy, Bonnie and Moonface let him have Snake Eyes Johnson’s passport and ticket without telling him to whom they belong. Billy cons Evelyn into leaving him alone with Hope, by convincing him he is very ill. When he goes to get some air, Billy and Hope meet again, and it turns out she has been unable to stop thinking about him as well (“All Through The Night”). Though Hope prefers Billy, she insists she must marry Evelyn, though she gives no reason. Unbeknownst to Billy, her family’s company is in financial trouble and a marriage to Evelyn would promote a merger and save it. The ship’s crew gets a cable from New York saying that Public Enemy 1 is on board. Moonface admits his true identity to Billy and he and Bonnie conspire to disguise Billy as a crew member since he is now presumed to be Snake Eyes Johnson.
A quartet of lovelorn sailors comfort themselves with the thought of romance when they reach shore (“There’ll Always Be a Lady Fair”). On deck, Bonnie lures the sailors to her (“Where Are The Men?”), then steals the clothes of one of the men for Billy.
Hope discusses her impending marriage with Evelyn and discovers that he is not particularly pleased with the engagement either. Billy asks Reno to help separate Evelyn and Hope, and she agrees. Billy and Reno reaffirm their friendship, (“You’re the Top”). Reno tries to charm Evelyn, she succeeds, and he invites her for a drink in his cabin. She and Moon plot that Moon should burst into the cabin and discover Reno half-naked in Evelyn’s arms, providing sufficient reason for breaking off the engagement. However, when Moon breaks into the room, machine gun in tow, he instead sees Reno fully dressed and Evelyn nearly undressed. Moon tries to invent some indecent explanation for the situation, but Evelyn insists that he would be quite pleased by any rumor depicting him as a passionate lover, especially if Hope heard it. Moon admits that the plot has failed.
The crew discover that Billy is not a sailor, and Moon and Reno create a new disguise for him from a stolen pair of trousers, a jacket taken from a drunken passenger, and hair cut from Mrs. Harcourt’s Pomeranian and made into a beard. Reno tells Billy that Evelyn has kissed her, and she is sure she will be Lady Oakleigh soon, since love moves so quickly these days (“Anything Goes”). Mrs. Harcourt, recognizing her dog’s hair, angrily pulls off Billy’s beard and the crew and passengers realize he must be the wanted man. As Snake Eyes Johnson, Billy is an instant celebrity.
Billy is honored by both crew and passengers as “Public Enemy Number One.” He tells the Captain that Moon (who is still disguised as a minister) is helping him reform from his wicked ways. Moon is asked to lead a revival in the ship’s lounge. The passengers confess their sins to the “Reverend”, and Lord Evelyn admits to a one-night stand with a young Chinese woman, Plum Blossom. Hope is not impressed with Billy’s charade, and to please her, he confesses to everyone that he is not really Snake Eyes Johnson. Moon attempts to compensate by revealing that he is not a minister; he is Public Enemy Number Thirteen.
The captain sends them both to the brig. Reno restores the mood of the Revival (“Blow, Gabriel Blow”).
Moon tries to cheer Billy up (“Be Like the Bluebird”). Billy doubts he will ever see Hope again; he and Moon cannot leave their cell until they return to America. Their card-playing Chinese cellmates, imprisoned for conning all the third class passengers out of their money, will be put ashore in England. Moon and Billy challenge them to a game of strip poker, win their clothes, and disguise themselves again.
Billy, Moon, and Reno show up at the Oakleigh estate in Chinese garb. Billy and Moon tell Oakleigh’s uncle that they are the parents of “Plum Blossom” and threaten to publicize Evelyn’s indiscretion if he does not marry her. Oakleigh offers to buy them off and Moon gleefully accepts the cash, much to Billy and Reno’s chagrin.
Billy and Reno find Hope and Evelyn, who are both unhappy with the prospect of their matrimony. Hope declares that she desperately wants to marry Billy (“The Gypsy in Me”). Billy spots Whitney and finally learns that Evelyn and Hope’s planned marriage is really an awkward business merger. Billy realises that Oakleigh is manipulating them all; Hope’s company is really worth millions and Billy informs Whitney of that fact. Whitney offers to buy the firm from Hope at an exorbitant price, and she accepts. The marriage is called off since a merger is now impossible. Billy and Hope get married, as do Reno and Evelyn. A cable from the U.S. government fixes Billy’s passport problems and declares Moon “harmless.” Moon indignantly pockets Oakleigh’s check and refuses to return it.
Reno Sweeney — An evangelist turned nightclub singer and an old friend of Billy’s
Billy Crocker — a young Wall Street broker in love with Hope
Hope Harcourt — An American debutante
Moonface Martin — a second-rate gangster, “Public Enemy Number 13”
Lord Evelyn Oakleigh — Hope’s wealthy and stuffy English fiancé
Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt — Hope’s haughty and overbearing mother
Bonnie/Erma — Moonface’s girlfriend (1934 original), Snake Eyes’ girlfriend and Moonface’s friend (2011 revival)
Elisha J. Whitney — Ivy league Wall Street banker, Billy’s boss.
Reno’s Angels (Purity, Chastity, Charity and Virtue). (1934 original and 1962 revival / 2002 concert and 2011 revival) – Reno’s backing singers.
Ritz Quartette (1934 original) / Lady Fair Quartet (1987 revival)
Ching and Ling (“Luke” and “John” in the 1987 revival and 2002 concert) — Two Chinese ‘converts’ and reformed gamblers who accompany Bishop Henry T. Dobson
Captain, Steward, Purser on the ship
The Right Reverend Bishop Henry T. Dobson
Ship’s crew, Passengers, Reporters, Photographers and F.B.I. Agents
- This chart shows all songs that were performed; placement of the songs varied. Source: Internet Broadway Database listing
|1934 Original||1962 off-Broadway Revival||1987 and 2011 Revivals|
|“I Get a Kick Out of You”|
|Reno expresses her love to Billy in the bar at the beginning of Scene 1, reprised later near the show’s end.||The song is sung towards the end of Act 1, when Reno realizes she is in love with Evelyn.||Same as 1934.|
|“(There’s No Cure Like Travel) Bon Voyage”|
|The Sailors and guests board the ship, ready to depart, singing the “Bon Voyage” section of the song, but with no “There’s No Cure Like Travel” portion.||Same as 1934.||The complete song is sung. (“There’s No Cure Like Travel” was written for 1934, but later cut).|
|“You’d Be So Easy to Love”|
|Written for 1934, but cut during rehearsals.||N/A||Here, Billy makes an advance on Hope. Although she turns him away, she secretly agrees with him.|
|“The Crew Song”|
|N/A||N/A||Originally written for a 1914 college show, Paranoia. Elisha J. Whitney prepares for a date with Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt and sings about his Yale days.|
|“Sailor’s Chanty (There’ll Always Be A Lady Fair)”|
|Sung by sailors during a scene change, and later reprised.||N/A (however, an instrumental version of the song can be heard in the overture)||Same as 1934, with fewer verses and no reprise.|
|N/A||Originally written for Paris, Bonnie attracts a group of sailors.||N/A|
|“Where Are the Men?”|
|Bonnie attracts a group of sailors.||Replaced by “Heaven Hop”.||N/A|
|“You’re the Top”|
|Billy convinces Reno to help him win Hope’s heart (where “Friendship” would go in the revivals). There is also an encore of the song, totaling approximately six minutes.||Sung at the beginning of the show in place of “I Get a Kick Out of You” with fewer verses.||Sung as a pep-talk from Reno to a discouraged Billy.|
|N/A||Originally written for DuBarry Was a Lady; Reno, Billy, and Moonface sing about their strong bond||Similar to 1962, but only Reno and Moonface sing, and some alternate lyrics|
|N/A||Originally written for Red, Hot and Blue; Billy and Hope have a romantic moment where “All Through the Night” was in 1934 and “You’d Be So Easy to Love” was in 1987. They are joined by the sailors and women of the ship.||Sung later in the musical, near the Act I Finale. The sailors and women do not join in, and there is an extended dance sequence in the middle.|
|Sung by Reno before the Act I Finale when she considers marrying Evelyn.||Ended Act I and sung about Billy as Snake Eyes, as well as Evelyn. Contained alternate lyrics.||Similar to 1962, but only about Billy as Snake Eyes, with more alternate lyrics. The 2011 version adds a verse not heard since 1962: “They think he’s gangster number one, so they’ve made him their favorite son, and that goes to show: Anything Goes!”|
|“Act I Finale”|
|Whereas the revivals ended the act with “Anything Goes”, the 1934 original had a scene where Hope rejects Billy, who is posing as Snake Eyes. Reno and Moonface try to cheer him up with a reprise of “You’re the Top”, to no avail. Billy is the hero of the ship to everyone but the girl he really wants.||Replaced by “Anything Goes”.||Replaced by “Anything Goes”.|
|“Public Enemy Number One”|
|After a marching-style intro by the sailor quartet, the song turns into a mock-hymn to Billy.||The opening verse is cut, leaving only the hymn, sung a cappella style with no instrumentals, unlike the other versions.||The introduction is back, sung by the Captain and Purser instead of the sailors, and also shortened a bit.|
|“Let’s Step Out”|
|N/A||Originally written for Fifty Million Frenchmen. Bonnie arouses the passengers after the “Public Enemy Number One” with a dance number.||N/A|
|“What a Joy to be Young”|
|A heartbroken Hope sings about how she preferred herself back when she was ignorant, but blissful. Cut during out-of-town tryouts.||N/A||N/A|
|N/A||Originally written for Paris; realizing Billy is beyond her reach Reno sets her sights on Evelyn as he realizes he’s not in love with Hope.||N/A|
|“Blow, Gabriel, Blow”|
|Sung by Reno to cheer everyone up after Billy is arrested as an impostor.||Same as 1934.||Sung before Billy is arrested, as part of Reno’s “sermon.”|
|“Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye”|
|N/A||N/A||Originally written for Born to Dance, dropped from Red, Hot and Blue, first appears in O Mistress Mine. Sung by Hope after Billy is arrested, in which she realizes she’s in love too late. An introductory verse absent in the 1987 revival was reinstated for the 2011 revival.|
|“Be Like the Bluebird”|
|Sung by Moonface to cheer up Billy in the brig.||Same as 1934 (missing a verse), but sung after “All Through the Night”.||Same as 1934 (missing a verse).|
|“All Through the Night”|
|Sung by Billy and Hope on deck early in the show, where “It’s De-Lovely” and “You’d Be So Easy to Love” went in revivals, with a chorus. Reprised when Hope visits Billy in the brig.||Same as the 1934 reprise.||Same as 1962, but with only Billy singing, complete with chorus.|
|“Gypsy in Me”|
|Sung by Hope, letting her wild side out after Reno tells her that Billy will fight for her.||N/A||Now sung by Evelyn, turning into a comic song and dance number, and adding to the plot about his family’s disturbing secret.|
|“Take Me Back to Manhattan”|
|N/A||Originally written for The New Yorkers. Sung by a homesick Reno and her Angels.||N/A|
|Sung by Reno during a scene change about her problems with men, replaced in later runs with a reprise of “I Get a Kick Out of You”.||N/A||Sung by Erma to the sailors who are in love with her. Fewer verses.|
|Reprises of “You’re the Top” and “Anything Goes”.||Same as 1934||Reprises of “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Anything Goes”. In the 2011 revival, the cast sings reprises of “It’s De-Lovely” and “Anything Goes”.|
Runs on Broadway
Nov 21, 1934 – Nov 16, 1935 – 46th Street & Alvin Theatres
Oct 19, 1987 – Sep 3, 1989 – Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Apr 1, 2002 – Apr 1, 2002 – Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Apr 7, 2011 – Jul 8, 2012 – Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Oct 18, 1988 – Jan 15, 1989
Sep 08, 1989 – Jun 24, 1990
Oct 02, 2012 – Nov 17, 2013
The musical had a tryout in Colonial Theatre (Boston), before opening on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on November 21, 1934. It ran for 420 performances, becoming the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s, despite the impact of the Great Depression on Broadway patrons’ disposable income. Directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Robert Alton and sets by Donald Oenslager, it starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, William Gaxton as Billy Crocker and Victor Moore as Moonface Martin.
Charles B. Cochran, a British theatrical manager had bought the London performance rights during the show’s Boston run, and he produced it at the West End’s Palace Theatre. The musical opened on June 14, 1935 and ran for 261 performances. The cast included Jeanne Aubert as Reno Sweeney (the name changed to Reno La Grange, to suit Aubert’s French background), Sydney Howard as Moonface Martin and Jack Whiting as Billy Crocker. P. G. Wodehouse was engaged to replace the specifically American references in the book and lyrics with references more appropriate to an English audience.
1962 Off-Broadway Revival
The production was revived in an Off Broadway production in 1962, opening on May 15, 1962 at the Orpheum Theatre. It was directed by Lawrence Kasha with a cast that included Hal Linden as Billy Crocker, Kenneth Mars as Sir Evelyn, and Eileen Rodgers as Reno Sweeney. For this revival, the script was revised to incorporate several of the changes from the movie versions. Most changes revolved around the previously minor character Bonnie. This revision was also the first stage version of Anything Goes to incorporate several songs from other Porter shows: “Take Me Back to Manhattan” from The New Yorkers, 1930, “It’s De-Lovely” from Red Hot and Blue, 1934, “Friendship” from DuBarry Was a Lady, 1939, and “Let’s Misbehave” from Paris, 1928.
1987 Broadway Revival
For the 1987 Broadway revival, John Weidman and Timothy Crouse (Russel’s son) updated the book and re-ordered the musical numbers, using Cole Porter songs from other Porter shows, a practice which the composer often engaged in. The music was rescored for a 16-piece swing band, in the style of early Benny Goodman, instead of the earlier 28-piece orchestrations. This production opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, in Lincoln Center, on October 19, 1987, and ran for 784 performances. With direction by Jerry Zaks and choreography by Michael Smuin, it starred Patti LuPone as Reno Sweeney, Howard McGillin as Billy, Bill McCutcheon as Moonface, and Anthony Heald as Lord Evelyn; Leslie Uggams and Linda Hart were replacement Renos. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards (including nominations for McGillin, LuPone, McCutcheon, and Heald), winning for Best Revival of a Musical, Best featured actor (McCutcheon), and Best Choreography. The production also won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival of a Musical and LuPone won the Outstanding Actress award.
1989 West End Revival
When British actress/singer Elaine Paige heard of the success of the 1987 Broadway production, she attended a performance of it and was determined to bring the show to London. To secure a place in the show’s cast, Paige decided it was best she co-produced the show with her then partner, lyricist Tim Rice. The London production opened in July 1989 at the Prince Edward Theatre. Paige starred as Reno Sweeney(she was replaced later in the run by Louise Gold). The original cast also starred Howard McGillin as Billy Crocker (who was replaced later in the show’s run by John Barrowman), Bernard Cribbins as Moonface and Kathryn Evans as Erma. The other principals included Ursula Smith, Martin Turner and Ashleigh Sendin.
Jerry Zaks again directed the production, with scenic and costume design by Tony Walton, lighting by Paul Gallo and sound by Tony Meola. The musical director was John Owen Edwards and the choreographer Michael Smuin.
The show transferred to Australia the same year and played in both Sydney and Melbourne starring Geraldine Turner in the role of Reno Sweeney.
In April 2002, a one-night-only concert performance of the show was performed at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Patti LuPone played Reno with Howard McGillin as Billy and Boyd Gaines as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. LuPone and Gaines would later star together in the 2008 Broadway revival of Gypsy. The performance was directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom with music supervision by David Chase and designs by Tony Walton.
2002-2003 London and West End Revivals
The National Theatre revived the musical, which opened at the Olivier Theatre on December 18, 2002 and closed on March 22, 2003. The production then transferred to the West End at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, running from September 26, 2003 (in previews) through August 28, 2004. Directed by Trevor Nunn, it starred Sally Ann Triplett, John Barrowman and Yao Chin, (who is now a TV reporter). A cast recording of this production is available.
2011 Broadway Revival
A revival of the 1987 Broadway rewrite opened on April 7, 2011 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. Previews began on March 10, 2011. This production was directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with musical supervision by Rob Fisher, dance arrangements by David Chase and designs by Derek McLane and Martin Pakledinaz. This revival retains much of the 1987 orchestrations by Michael Gibson with some additions from arranger Bill Elliott.
The show’s opening night cast featured Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney, Joel Grey as Moonface Martin, Laura Osnes as Hope Harcourt, Jessica Walter as Evangeline Harcourt, Colin Donnell as Billy Crocker, Adam Godley as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, John McMartin as Elisha Whitney, Jessica Stone as Erma, Robert Creighton as Purser, Andrew Cao as Luke, Raymond J. Lee as John, and Walter Charles as the Captain. The production was received generally very well by the critics and received a total of nine Tony Award nominations and ten Drama Desk Award nominations, including Best Actress in a Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Revival of a Musical. The revival won the Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards for Best Revival and Best Choreography and Foster won the Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical.
A cast recording of this production became available as a digital download on August 23, 2011 and it arrived in stores on September 20, 2011.
Stephanie J. Block took over for Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney in a limited engagement (November 4–23, 2011) while Foster filmed a television pilot. Block took over as Reno on March 15, 2012, as Foster left the musical to take a role in a television series.
The production was originally scheduled to run through July 31, 2011, and was initially extended to April 29, 2012. It was extended two more times before closing on July 8, 2012 after 521 regular performances and 32 previews.
2012 US National Tour
A U.S national tour began[needs update] in October 2012 at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio and will play more than 25 other major cities. Rachel York plays Reno Sweeney. Other cast-members include Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin, Erich Bergen as Billy Crocker, Jeff Brooks as Purser, Joyce Chittick as Erma, Alex Finke as Hope Harcourt, Dennis Kelly as Elisha Whitney, Vincent Rodriguez III as Luke, Marcus Shane as John, Sandra Shipley as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Edward Staudenmayer as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, and Chuck Wagner as the Captain.
2015 UK Tour
A UK wide tour of the critically acclaimed Sheffield Theatres production was announced in the Summer of 2014. The production starts in the New Wimbledon Theatre January 29, 2015 and visits 32 venues in its nine-month run. The production stars Debbie Kurup (The Bodyguard)as Reno Sweeney and Matt Rawle (Evita) as Billy Crocker. Until April 4, 2015 Hugh Sachs (Benidorm) will star as Moonface Martin and Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders) will star as Evangeline Harcourt. From the 6 April 2015 these roles will be played by Shaun Williamson (EastEnders) and Kate Anthony (Coronation Street) respectively.
2015 Australian Revival
An Australian revival was announced in September 2014 with the cast led by Caroline O’Connor as Reno Sweeney with Todd McKenney, Alex Rathgeber, Claire Lyon, Wayne Scott Kermond and Alan Jones playing the Captain. Jones was replaced in Melbourne and Brisbane by Gerry Connolly. The revival, directed by Dean Bryant, played in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney sequentially running from June until November.
2016 Regional Revival
A high-profile co-production between Gateway Playhouse (Bellport, New York) and Ogunquit Playhouse starred Andrea McArdle as Reno Sweeney, and Sally Struthers as Mrs. Harcourt. The production, which ran in May to June 4, 2016, featured the Derek McLane sets, and Martin Pakledinaz costumes that were created for the 2011 Broadway revival, which was produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. The production was directed by Jayme McDaniel, and was choreographed by Jason Wise.
Movies and Television
In 1936, Paramount Pictures turned Anything Goes into a movie musical. It starred Ethel Merman (again as Reno), with Bing Crosby in the role of Billy Crocker. Other cast members included Ida Lupino, Charles Ruggles, Arthur Treacher, and Grace Bradley. The director was Lewis Milestone. Among those contributing new songs were Hoagy Carmichael, Richard A. Whiting, Leo Robin, and Friedrich Hollaender.
The book was drastically rewritten for a second film version, also by Paramount, released in 1956. This movie again starred Bing Crosby (whose character was renamed) and Donald O’Connor. The female leads were Zizi Jeanmaire and Mitzi Gaynor. The script departed significantly from the original story and was written by Sidney Sheldon. The lesser-known Porter songs were cut, and new songs, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, were substituted.
In 1954, Ethel Merman, at the age of forty-six, reprised her role as Reno in a specially adapted live television version of the musical, co-starring Frank Sinatra as the hero, now renamed Harry Dane, Merman’s good friend Bert Lahr (who had co-starred with her on Broadway in DuBarry Was a Lady) as Moonface Martin, and Sheree North. This version was broadcast live on February 28, 1954 as an episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour, and has been preserved on kinescope. It used five of the original songs plus several other Porter numbers, retained the shipboard setting, but had a somewhat different plot. It has been reported that Merman and Sinatra did not get along well; this was the only time they worked together. This version was released on DVD in 2011.
Awards and Nominations
1987 Broadway Revival
|1987||Tony Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Howard McGillin||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Patti LuPone||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Bill McCutcheon||Won|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Jerry Zaks||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Michael Smuin||Won|
|Best Scenic Design||Tony Walton||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||Paul Gallo||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival of a Musical||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Howard McGillin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Patti LuPone||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Bill McCutcheon||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Jerry Zaks||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography||Michael Smuin||Won|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Cole Porter||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Tony Walton||Nominated|
|Outstanding Set Design||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Paul Gallo||Nominated|
1989 London Revival
|1989||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Musical||Elaine Paige||Nominated|
2002 London Revival
|2002||Laurence Olivier Award||Outstanding Musical Production||Won|
2011 Broadway Revival
|2011||Tony Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Won|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Sutton Foster||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Adam Godley||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Kathleen Marshall||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design||Derek McLane||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Martin Pakledinaz||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design||Peter Kaczorowski||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design||Brian Ronan||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Revival of a Musical||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Colin Donnell||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Sutton Foster||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Adam Godley||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Laura Osnes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Kathleen Marshall||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Martin Pakledinaz||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Design||Brian Ronan||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Derek McLane||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Best Revival of a Musical||Won|
|Best Actress in a Musical||Sutton Foster||Won|
|Best Choreographer||Kathleen Marshall||Won|
|Broadway.com Audience Award||Favorite Actress in a Musical||Sutton Foster||Won|
|Favorite Diva Performance||Nominated|
|Favorite Onstage Pair||Sutton Foster and Joel Grey||Nominated|
|Favorite Musical Revival||Nominated|
|Favorite Actor in a Musical||Joel Grey||Nominated|
|Astaire Award||Best Dancer on Broadway||Sutton Foster||Won|
|2012||Grammy Award||Best Musical Show Album||Nominated|
William Gaxton – Billy Crocker
Ethel Merman – Reno Sweeney
Victor Moore – Moonface Martin aka Reverend Dr. Moon aka Public Enemy #13
Bettina Hall – Hope Harcourt
May Abbey – Mrs. Wentworth
Kay Adams – Passenger
Leslie Barrie – Lord Evelyn Oakleigh
William Barry – Ship’s Drunk
Ruth Bond – Reno’s Angel
Chet Bree – First Cameraman/ Member of the Ritz Quartette
Norma Butler – Reno’s Angel
Billy Curtis – Little Boy
Edward Delbridge – Reporter # 1 / Member of the Ritz Quartette
Lola Dexter – Passenger
Vera Dunn – Bonnie Letour
Florence Earle – Mrs. Frick
Enez Early – Reno’s Angel
Maurice Elliott – Mr. Swift
Neal Evans – Second Cameraman/ Member of the Ritz Quartette
Paul Everton – Elisha J. Whitney
Charlie Fang – Ling
Marjorie Fisher – Reno’s Angel
Helen Folsom – Passenger
Stuart Fraser – Member of the Alvin Quartette
David Glidden – Member of the Alvin Quartette
Ruth Gomley – Reno’s Angel
Irene Hamlin – Reno’s Angel
Maurine Holmes – Passenger
Ray Johnson – Member of the Foursome
Renee Johnson – Reno’s Angel
Evelyn Kelly – Passenger
Irene Kelly – Reno’s Angel
John C. King – Captain
Leoda Knapp – Reno’s Angel
George E. Mack – Bartender
Doris Maye – Reno’s Angel
Richard Nealy – Member of the Alvin Quartette
Marquita Nicholai – Passenger
Lillian Ostrom – Reno’s Angel
Jackie Paige – Reno’s Angel
Mary Philips – Reno’s Angel
Irvin Pincus – Bell Boy
Del Porter – Member of the Foursome
Helen Raymond – Mrs. Wadsworth T. Harcourt
Houston Richards – Chief Officer
Pacie Ripple – Bishop Dodson
Cornelia Rogers – Reno’s Angel
Ruth Shaw – Reno’s Angel
Eleanore Sheridan – Reno’s Angel
Marshall Smith – Member of the Foursome
Dwight Snyder – Member of the Foursome
Ethel Sommerville – Passenger
William Stamm – Steward / Member of the Ritz Quartette
Frances Stewart – Reno’s Angel
Drucilla Strain – Snooks / The Stylists / Ship’s Orchestra
Vivian Vance – Babe
Val Vestoff – Assistant Purser
Finette Walker – Passenger
John Walsh – G-Man # 2 / Member of the Alvin Quartette
Richard Wang – Ching
Harry Wilson – G-Man # 1
Understudy: Vivian Vance (Reno Sweeney)
More Casts 1987, 2002, 2011 below
There are many popular cast recordings of the show including:
1935 Original London cast
1936 Studio cast
1950 Studio recording with Mary Martin
1953 Studio cast
1954 Television cast
1956 Film cast
1962 Off Broadway revival cast Hal Linden
1969 London revival cast Marion Montgomery
1987 Broadway revival cast with Patti LuPone and Howard McGillin
1988 Studio cast with Kim Criswell conducted by John McGlinn
1989 Australian revival cast
1989 London revival cast with Elaine Paige
1995 Studio cast with Louise Gold
2003 London revival cast
2011 Broadway revival cast with Sutton Foster
- Title song was used for PBS’ American Experience documentary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt because of the last verse of the song.
- In the 1972 film What’s Up, Doc?, the song “You’re the Top” is sung for the opening and closing credits by Barbra Streisand. Ryan O’Neal joins her for the closing credits and this marks his only on-screen singing in a movie. The movie uses at least two other tunes from this musical as background music: “Anything Goes” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”, are heard during the first hotel-lobby scene.
- In the 1974 Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles, “I Get a Kick Out of You” is performed in a comedic manner by Cleavon Little and the other actors portraying black railroad workers, complete with a full harmony arrangement.
- “You’re The Top” was used in the film Evil Under the Sun, performed by Diana Rigg.
- In the 1984 film, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, Kate Capshaw performs the title song in Mandarin. The tune appears again later in the scene.
- In the Family Guy episode “Saving Private Brian”, the Sergeant trainer claims “Anything Goes” to be one of his most favorite shows. Also, in “Brian: Portrait of a Dog”, Lois wants to sing showtunes in the car. She begins to sing “Anything Goes”.
- In an episode of Summer Heights High Mr G cancels a production of “Anything Goes” one week before opening.
- In the play Dancing at Lughnasa by Irish playwright Brian Friel, the song “Anything Goes” is played on the radio and sung by Gerry Evans to Aggie and Chris. The song basically sums up the entire concept of the play: times changing and people changing with them.
- In an episode of Gilmore Girls, “You’re the Top” is sung with slight lyrical changes.
- The song “Anything Goes” is played on Galaxy News Radio, a fictional radio station, in the post-apocalyptic video game Fallout 3, as well as the next installment Fallout 4.
- During the latter half of BioShock, “You’re The Top” can be heard playing from a Rapture radio.
- Title song used as the title of the 2008 autobiography by John Barrowman, who starred as Billy Crocker in 1989, 2002, and 2003.
- In an episode of Married… with Children called “Can’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me” Steve teaches Kelly to tap dance to “Anything Goes”
- In the Mission: Impossible episode “The Fortune” (from the 1988 revival series), the movie was the favorite film of Luis Barazon—one of the targets. Further, the segment of the movie where the title song is performed is “the part he likes the best”. Also, the phrase “Anything Goes” was the second level password needed to access Barazon’s financial records so that the money the Barazons stole from their country’s treasury could be returned.
- “Anything Goes” was used in a mash-up with “Anything You Can Do” (from Annie Get Your Gun) in the third-season premiere of the Fox musical television series Glee.
- Anything Went was a parody of Anything Goes, partly shown on Mathnet, the rest being left to the viewer’s imagination. This episode featured veteran broadway performer Tammy Grimes portraying fictional hammy veteran broadway performer Lauren Bacchanal.
- In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Richie sings “You’re the Top” replacing the words “Mona Lisa” with “Mommy Lisa”
- A cover of the title song was released as a duet by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in July 2014.
- In the film Passed Away, the minister sings “You’re the Top.”
- In the 1999 romantic comedy Trick, drag performer Coco Peru references the song “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”
- In 2017, the song was used in the Toyota RAV4 commercial.
Rex Everhart – Elisha Whitney
Anne Francine – Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt
Linda Hart – Erma
Anthony Heald – Lord Evelyn Oakleigh
Patti LuPone – Reno Sweeney
Kathleen Mahony-Bennett – Hope Harcourt
Bill McCutcheon – Moonface Martin aka Reverend Dr. Moon aka Public Enemy #13
Howard McGillin – Billy Crocker
Stanford Egi – Luke
Richard Korthaze – Minister
David Pursley – Captain
Toshi Toda – John
Gerry Vichi – Purser
Larry Cahn – Reporter # 2 / Member of the Lady Fair Quartet
Eric Y.L. Chan – Louie / Dancing Ensemble
Mark Chmiel – Thuggish Sailor / Dancing Ensemble
Leslie Feagan – G-Man # 2 / Member of the Lady Fair Quartet
Dan Fletcher – Thuggish Sailor / Dancing Ensemble
Pat Gorman – Countess
Dale Hensley – G-Man # 1 / Member of the Lady Fair Quartet
Robert Kellett – Reporter # 1 / Dancing Ensemble
Jane Lanier – Virtue / Dancing Ensemble
Gerry McIntyre – Photographer / Dancing Ensemble
Alice Ann Oakes – Woman in Bathchair’s Niece / Dancing Ensemble
Lacy Darryl Phillips – Thuggish Sailor / Dancing Ensemble
Michele Pigliavento – Young Girl / Dancing Ensemble
Daryl Richardson – Purity / Dancing Ensemble
Maryellen Scilla – Charity / Dancing Ensemble
Jane Seaman – Woman in Bathchair
Steve Steiner – Fred / Member of the Lady Fair Quartet
Alec Timerman – Sailor / Dancing Ensemble
Barbara Yeager – Chastity / Dancing Ensemble
Understudies: Larry Cahn (Billy Crocker, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Eric Y.L. Chan (John, Luke), Mark Chmiel (Photographer, Sailor), Leslie Feagan (Elisha Whitney, Minister, Moonface Martin), Dan Fletcher (Sailor), Pat Gorman (Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Reno Sweeney, Woman in Bathchair), Dale Hensley (Billy Crocker, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Robert Kellett (Captain, Reporter # 2), Jane Lanier (Hope Harcourt), Gerry McIntyre (Fred, Purser, Reporter # 1), Alice Ann Oakes (Charity, Purity, Virtue), Lacy Darryl Phillips (Fred), Michele Pigliavento (Hope Harcourt, Purity, Woman in Bathchair’s Niece), David Pursley (Elisha Whitney), Daryl Richardson (Charity, Chastity, Woman in Bathchair), Maryellen Scilla (Chastity, Virtue), Jane Seaman (Erma, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Reno Sweeney, Young Girl), Steve Steiner (Captain), Alec Timerman (Purser), Gerry Vichi (Moonface Martin) and Barbara Yeager (Erma, Young Girl)
Sutton Foster – Reno Sweeney
Joel Grey – Moonface Martin aka Reverend Dr. Moon aka Public Enemy #13
Andrew Cao – Luke
Walter Charles – Captain
Robert Creighton – Purser
Colin Donnell – Billy Crocker
Adam Godley – Lord Evelyn Oakleigh
Raymond J. Lee – John
John McMartin – Elisha J. Whitney
Laura Osnes – Hope Harcourt
Jessica Stone – Erma
Jessica Walter – Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt
Clyde Alves – Crew / Photographer / Ship’s Passenger
Ward Billeisen – Crew / Ship’s Passenger / Quartet Member
Joyce Chittick – Virtue
Nikki Renée Daniels – Ship’s Passenger
Daniel J. Edwards – Crew / Quartet Member / Ship’s Passenger
Kimberly Fauré – Chastity
Josh Franklin – Crew / Ship’s Passenger / Quartet Member / Fred
Tari Kelly – Ship’s Passenger
Shina Ann Morris – Purity
Linda Mugleston – Old Lady in a Wheelchair / Ship’s Passenger
Kevin Munhall – Crew / Ship’s Passenger / FBI Agent
Adam Perry – Crew / FBI Agent / Ship’s Passenger
William Ryall – Crew / Quartet Member / Ship’s Passenger
Henry T. Dobson – a minister
Jennifer Savelli – Charity
Anthony Wayne – Crew / Reporter / Ship’s Passenger
Kristen Beth Williams – Ship’s Passenger
Swings: Margot de la Barre and Justin Greer
Understudies: Clyde Alves (Purser), Joyce Chittick (Erma), Robert Creighton (Moonface Martin), Nikki Renée Daniels (Hope Harcourt), Daniel J. Edwards (John, Luke), Josh Franklin (Billy Crocker, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Tari Kelly (Reno Sweeney), Linda Mugleston (Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt) and William Ryall (Captain, Elisha J. Whitney)
- Davis 1993, p. 6.
- TIME magazine reported in its May 26, 2008 issue, p. 51, that this musical tied (with Guys and Dolls) as the tenth most frequently produced musical by U.S. high schools in 2007.
- Schwartz, Charles (2004). Cole Porter: A Biography. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-306-80097-7.
- Hischak, Thomas S. (2004). Through The Screen Door. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., p. 28. ISBN 0-8108-5018-4
- Jasen, David A (1975). P G Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master. London: Garnstone Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-85511-190-9.
- Davis 1993, p. 332.
- Internet Broadway Database for “Anything Goes” Archived 2005-01-14 at the Wayback Machine. ibdb.com
- Day, Barry (2004). The Complete Lyrics of P G Wodehouse. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. pp. 407–14. ISBN 0-8108-4994-1.
- New York Times, October 18, 1987, Stephen Holden, p. 90
- Trucco, Terry. “A London Accent for ‘Anything Goes'” Archived 2017-06-23 at the Wayback Machine. New York Times, July 25, 1989
- Webb, Paul. “John Barrowman Chats About Return to ‘Anything Goes’ Role in London” Archived 2015-04-08 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com, 7 October 2003
- “Archive, ‘Anything Goes'” Archived September 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. albemarle-london.com
- “Jessica Stone”. Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Jones, Kenneth.“Colin Donnell, Adam Godley, Laura Osnes, John McMartin Are Passengers in Anything Goes” Playbill, December 7, 2010
- BWW News Desk.“Osnes, Stone et al. Join Foster & Grey in ‘Anything Goes’; Full Cast Announced” Archived 2010-12-10 at the Wayback Machine. broadwayworld.com, December 7, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth.“War Horse, Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, Normal Heart Win 2011 Tony Awards” Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, June 12, 2011
- Anything Goes Cast Album In Stores Sept. 20, Earlier Via Digital Services Archived September 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com
- “Sutton Foster Takes ‘ANYTHING GOES’ Hiatus in Nov. for TV Pilot; Stephanie J. Block Steps in” Archived 2011-11-22 at the Wayback Machine. broadwayworld.com, October 19, 2011
- Stephanie J. Block Will Fill in for Sutton Foster in Broadway’s Anything Goes Starting Nov. 4 Archived 2011-12-03 at the Wayback Machine. playbill.com
- Jones, Kenneth. Times Have Changed! Stephanie J. Block Is New “Reno” of Broadway’s Anything Goes'” Archived February 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, February 23, 2012
- Jones, Kenneth.Voyage Extended: Anything Goes Will Steam Into April 2012, With Sutton Foster on the Bow” Archived October 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, September 19, 2011
- Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. “Tony-Winning Revival of Anything Goes, With Stephanie J. Block and Joel Grey, Sails Into the Sunset July 8″ Archived 2012-07-09 at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, July 8, 2012
- “Anything Goes” Archived May 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. playbillvault.com, July 8, 2012
- Viagas, Robert. ” Anything Goes Extends on Broadway and Plans U.S. Tour”. Archived June 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, June 12, 2011
- Jones, Kenneth. “Anything Goes Will Embark on National Tour in Fall 2012”. Playbill. Archived from the original on 2012-01-08.
- Jones, Kenneth. ” Anything Goes Tour Will Get a Kick out of Rachel York as Reno Sweeney”. Archived March 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Playbill, March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- “Erich Bergen, Joyce Chittick, Alex Finke Join Cast of ANYTHING GOES Tour” Archived 2012-08-17 at the Wayback Machine. broadwayworld.com, August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
- Jacobson, Aileen (2016-05-27). “Review: Joyous Energy Fills ‘Anything Goes,’ at Gateway Playhouse”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
- “Anything Goes! on DVD”. Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television. Archived from the original on 2014-11-03.
- Anything Goes (1954 Colgate Comedy Hour production) on IMDb
- The Insider, Ken Mandelbaum, October 5, 2005 Archived August 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Anything Goes (1954 TV production), info on DVD release on Playbill.com
- “Best Musical Theater Album”. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Dec 2, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. Retrieved 2 Dec 2011.
- Anything Goes (premier production) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lortel listing for 1962 Off Broadway revival
- Internet Broadway Database listing for 1987 revival
- Anything Goes (1987 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Anything Goes (2002 concert production) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Anything Goes (2011 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Tams-Witmark listing for 1987 production
- Tams-Witmark listing for 1962 production
- Anything Goes 1962 Broadway revival cast recording album on Masterworks Broadway
- Playbill Vault listing for original 1934 production
- Playbill Vault listing for 1987 revival
- Playbill Vault listing for 2011 revival