Review Roundup: ANYTHING GOES Tour Docks in Durham!
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by BWW News Desk
Roundabout Theatre Company's (Todd Haimes, Artistic Director) national tour of the 2011 Tony Award-winning Anything Goes opened on Tuesday, March 19 in Durham, North Carolina. Following North Carolina's Durham Performing Arts Center, Roundabout Theatre Company's Anything Goes's will sail to Fayetteville, AR at the Walton Arts Center beginning April 9, 2013.
Anything Goes features music and lyrics by Cole Porter; original book by P.G. Wodehouse & Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse; and new book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. The creative team includes Jay Alger (Music Direction), Bill Elliot (Additional Orchestrations), Derek McLane (original scenic design), Martin Pakledinaz (Costumes), Howell Binkley (Lighting Design) and Brian Ronan and Keith Caggiano (Sound Design).
Let's see what the critics have had to say about the show recently...
Chris Silk, Naples News: The real problem? "Anything Goes" never really feels like what it truly is - or was - a thoroughly over-stuffed and jolly frivolous frivolity. The touring production feels a bit mechanical. Only York, as ultra-glam Reno Sweeney, a role originated by Ethel Merman, elevates the nonsensical plot aimed at cheering Depression-era audiences to something special. Every single piece of "Anything Goes" needs to shout "SPECTACLE" - and this show never does.
Dawn Baumgartner, Herald Sun: Set sail with "Anything Goes" for a fantastic voyage with the best of 1930s comedy, music, costumes and acting. Of the dozens of Broadway musicals that have been performed on stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center since it opened more than four years ago, "Anything Goes" is in the top tier. The sparkly dresses, the high jinks, the lively musical numbers of films of the era gave audiences during the Great Depression an escape from their Hooverville reality. The core elements of what made for a hit then - Cole Porter songs, comedic timing, actors with flair and voices to envy - are all in this production. The best, most impressive number is the tap-dancing, orchestra showcasing "Anything Goes" that closes out the first act. It was one of many songs that lead actress Rachel York as Reno Sweeney hit out of the park. York is delightful. Seeing what she and the rest of the cast - plus a crew of sailors - can do with tap shoes and song, it's a wonder this kind of performance isn't done more often in today's musicals. Everything about this show works.
Kathy L. Greenberg, Tampa Bay Online: There is so much to love in this production, from Martin Pakledinaz' gorgeous costumes to Porter's incomparable musicianship to Timothy Crouse and John Weidman's witty book to the actors' lovingly nurtured characters. It's de-lovely.
Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice: Rachel York leads the cast as Reno Sweeney, the sassy cabaret star who's chasing after a boy who has eyes on another girl, who is engaged to be married to a British lord, who doesn't care much about marrying her .... Oy. Plot is not its friend. But jaunty one-liners, sexy men in sailor suits and timeless songs are. Even 80 years after it opened, the energy is as fresh as morning glory. (Through Sunday.)
Christopher Blank, Memphis Commercial Appeal: Upon this vintage set, director Kathleen Marshall (also of Broadway's "The Pajama Game" and "Grease") stages a vintage production that, at times, seems authentic to a fault - a starchy, Spartan staging that treats each Porter tune with the reverence of jewelry in a display case. The dance breaks are faithful to the period - lovely, elegant couples dancing in the vein of Astaire and Rogers. The snazzy tap numbers are more fun the bigger they get, but that's true in almost every Broadway musical.
Robert W. McDowell, Triangle Arts & Entertainment: So, how does the national tour of Anything Goes differ from the Broadway revival? "It's not much different at all," claims Josh Franklin, who has performed in both the Broadway revival and the tour. He adds, "Obviously, the cast is different. The tour cast members bring its own timing and personalities to their roles." But, Franklin notes, that the tour has the same sets the same costumes, and the same director and choreographer as the award-winning 2011 Broadway revival.
Charles Runnells, News-Press: Sure, some of the scenes drag a bit, and the script is full of implausible situations and jokey one-liners that might make you groan. But, then again, that's part of the fun. This show doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should you.
Dathan Kazsuk, Triangle Busuness Journal: Cole Porter's timeless classic "Anything Goes" debuted at the Durham Performing Arts Center on Tuesday and will run through March 19-24, and one thing is for certain - it makes you feel a little safer to step foot on a cruise ship these days. The performance, which won a Tony Award in 2011 for Best Choreography, features an amazing cast of singer-dancers, including Rachel York as Reno Sweeny, Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin and newcomer Alex Finke as Hope Harcourt, the fair maiden set to get married on the voyage.
Jimmy Ferraro, BroadwayWorld: Glamorous, platinum haired, Rachel York stars as the brash, fast talking, wise-cracking, Reno Sweeney. Her character and line delivery are reminicent of Mae West and Rosalind Russell. Miss York is a dynamo, a triple threat. She acts, she has an unbelievable "set of pipes", and WOW!, does she dance! She commands the stage at all times with impeccable comic timing, landing every joke and one liner with a bang! Miss. York is not only a bombastic belter, but she also has a beautiful, lyrical soprano as well. And she is "easy on the eyes" too. Miss York looks perfectly stunning in every scene. She left the audience in wonderment after belting full blast and tapping her brains out, in the high energy showstopper of the title song, ending Act I. And then, she continued to belt and dance in Act II with "Blow Gabriel, Blow!" and then there was more and more of the same...How does she do it? An amazing performance!
Dawn Baumgartner, Herald Sun: The current revival of "Anything Goes," the 1930s-set ship comedic musical featuring Cole Porter music is a big, bold Broadway production, said its star, Rachel York, who portrays Reno Sweeney. "Anything Goes" comes to the Durham Performing Arts Center on Tuesday for a six-day run. York spoke with The Herald-Sun by phone last week from the tour stop in Tampa, Fla. The original play, written during the Great Depression, gave people what they craved then, York said. "Romance, comedy, to be taken away from life," she said. "This show - you go on a cruise for two hours," York said. There are singing sailors, disguises, blackmail and romance. Even though the book has been rewritten, a lot of the jokes still work, she said. York also loves the costumes and said it was such a debonair period, with style.
Larisa Mount, BroadwayWorld: Anything Goes is spot-on, wonderfully directed, (seemingly) effortlessly executed, and fantastically fun. Throw your worries overboard for a few hours - you won't regret it.