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In February 2004 we performed Cole Porter's Anything Goes.
The production featured Ben Walton as Billy Crocker and Katrina Wood as Reno Sweeney. Louise Denison returned as Director
and Choreographer, with Dean McDermott once again lifting the baton as Musical Director.
The original version of Anything Goes was written in 1934, with a book
by the great English comic writer PG Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, a long-time
collaborator. It concerned the voyage of a luxury liner on which there occured
an explosion in mid-Atlantic. Sadly, when the show was almost ready to open
its out-of-town preview, such a disaster did occur onboard the liner Morro
Castle, killing 134 people and making the story of the show decidedly un-comic.
Unfortunately by the time Wodehouse and Bolton were already on their way
back to England, and so Porter had to ask his friends Howard Lindsay and
Russel Crouse to come up with an almost new script. This was the show which
established Ethel Merman as a Broadway star and she went on to star in the
first film version of the show, made in 1936 by Paramount Pictures. Paramount
remade the film in 1956 with Bing Crosby, who had been Merman's co-star
in the first version. This effort bore even less resemblance to Cole Porter's
original show, having a totally new story and even more songs included which
were written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen (At least the show has been
re-written by some of Hollywood's luminaries!).
Although some of the songs
are from the original production, as with most shows of this period it has
become traditional to intersperse songs from other musicals by the same
author. Many of the original songs were cut from the revival but recently
a new Broadway version returned these songs, as well as using other Porter
material, and it was that version which ran sucessfully in the West End
and starred Elaine Page. That same version had another new book - coincidentally
by Timothy Crouse, the son of the re-write authour Russel.
The original Broadway production ran for 420 performances. This was revived
in an off-Broadway production in 1962 and it is basically this version that
was be presented by GAOS in February 2004. We last gave this version of
the show in 1995.
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