Anything Goes at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts
It was another wonderful night with the touring cast of Anything Goes by the Roundabout Theatre Company. The cast had it's opening night at the Ordway Theatre for Performing Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota and it was spectacular.
Anything Goes, a musical written by Cole Porter in 1934, has been revivied a total of three times. The most recent revival, starring Sutton Foster, won three Tony Awards in 2011 including Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Revival of a Musical. Anything Goes is a charming, witty and fun show for all ages.
Anything Goes is musical about reckless antics abroad the "S.S. American," a ship on it's way to London from New York. Reno Sweeney (Rachel York) is a swanky nightclub singer who boards the ship where she runs into her friend, and stowaway, Billy Crocker (Josh Franklin). Billy hopes that by stowing away on the ship, he can win over the heiress Hope Harcourt (Alex Finke) who is aboard the ship with her fiance Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Edward Staudenmayer). Aboard the ship as well is Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin (Jeff Brooks), who aids Billy in his quest for love.
Let's start with talking about our leading lady, Rachel York. This is that awkward part of the review where I already don't know what to say. Rachel York was brilliant. She left me speechless through out the entire production. One thing I despise about theatre people is the constant need for comparison. People were comparing Rachel York to Sutton Foster the entire night. However as much as I love both of these ladies, I felt Rachel York did a spectacular job. I felt York brought a new look to Reno Sweeney which many of us haven't seen since the great Patti LuPone played the part. York brings back an air of seduction to the character with her beautiful acting and superb vocals. York's voice is raspy and sultry while at the same time reaches a new level of clarity with numbers such as the title song "Anything Goes" as well as "You're the Top" and "Blow Gabriel Blow!" It was not only a joy and a thrill but an honor to see Rachel York live in the flesh performing such a wonderfully fresh new revival of a timeless musical
I've been to many musicals in my time here in Minnesota and never have I ever seen an audience erupt in applause-mid dance. During the Act 1 Finale, Reno Sweeney leads the cast in the title song Anything Goes. The casts tap sequence was something like nothing I have ever seen. The cast flawlessly tapped their ways into the audiences heart with what looked like absolutely no effort. Upon finishing the tap sequence mid song, the audience erupted in applause as the tap dancers continued to tap even more while York began to belt out the shows title song. Never have I ever seen something that impressive on a stage. Ever. I mean how many people can tap dance their sea legs off for what seemed like 5 solid minutes of tap, and then blow the roof off the place with their powerful belt? Not many, however Rachel York sure can.
Overall the national touring cast of Anything Goes was magnificent. You know me, give me a Broadway star, a tony award winning score and a couple of sailors and I'm on board. (Ha-ha). Get your tickets now before it sails away on May 12th!