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Theater Review: 'Anything Goes'

Flawless execution and Sutton Foster’s star power make up for the schmaltzy storyline in ‘Anything Goes.’

Yes, “Anything Goes” is everything that’s wrong with classic Broadway musicals: It’s corny and schmaltzy, with bad puns and people bursting into song for no apparent reason. But Roundabout Theater Company’s production of “Anything Goes” is everything that’s right about Broadway revivals. It’s spirited, chock full of talent and rehearsed to the point of fluidity.

From start to finish, this production sails forward cleanly with quick pacing, smooth scene changes and show-stopping numbers. The singing and dancing is so impeccably polished, it’s almost easy to forget you’re watching a live show susceptible to human error. Although the entire cast is star-studded, with Joel Grey as loveable gangster Moonface Martin and Jessica Walter (of “Arrested Development” fame) as socialite Evangeline Harcourt, it’s absolutely Sutton Foster as evangelist showgirl Reno Sweeney who helms this production. From her opening number to show-closing bow, every cheeky joke and ounce of lovelorn pain comes through with a finely tuned sincerity and sass; her tap-dancing piece de resistance closing the first act will leave you breathless.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few downbeats. One of them is Laura Osnes’ milquetoast Hope Harcourt. Another is a pointless ditty about a bluebird that’s only forgivable as Grey’s lone solo. Despite these minor shortcomings, you’ll leave in a buoyant mood with a Cole Porter chorus happily stuck in your head.

The plot

Up-and-coming broker Billy Crocker (Colin Donnell) stows away on his boss’s cruise trip in order to get closer to the girl of his dreams (Osnes). Foster’s Sweeney is in love with Crocker, but gets into cahoots with incognito criminals to help her pal get his gal before she disembarks to marry a man chosen by her mother (Walter).


Read T. Michelle Murphy’s theater blog, Well Played, for show reviews, interviews and more from the Great White Way.

 
 
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