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On Stage: 'Anything Goes'

courtesy Wichita State University School of Performing Arts

From Wichita State University comes the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, directed by guest artist Bradley Allan Zarr. The idea for a musical set on board an ocean liner came from producer Vinton Freedley. Freedley had left the U.S. to avoid creditors, and at the time, was living on a boat. He asked P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton to write the book, and he wanted Ethel Merman to star in it.

There are four versions of the libretto—the original 1934 version, the off-Broadway revival libretto of 1962, the 1987 revival libretto, and the 2011 revival libretto. The book was also revised extensively by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The musical gave us such classic tunes as “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You're the Top,” and of course, “Anything Goes,” and has become a beloved standard in musical theatre.

Anything Goes made its Broadway debut at the Alvin Theatre—now the Neil Simon Theatre—in 1934, and it ran for 420 performances. It was directed by Howard Lindsay.

The adventures of nightclub singer and former evangelist Reno Sweeney, Billy Crocker, the Wall Street broker pursuing the romantic attentions of the already-engaged Hope Harcourt, and Moonface Martin, a small-time grifter who claims to be Public Enemy #13, make for a lively evening punctuated with the songs from the legendary Cole Porter. Will Reno and Moonface succeed in helping Billy woo his beloved away from Sir Evelyn Oakleigh?

Anything Goes is onstage from October 31st to November 3rd at Wilner Auditorium.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.