'Anything Goes' revival delightful, delicious, de-lovely 

click to enlarge They’re the top: Rachel York and Erich Bergen sing the heck out of Cole Porter in Roundabout Theatre Company’s touring production of “Anything Goes.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • They’re the top: Rachel York and Erich Bergen sing the heck out of Cole Porter in Roundabout Theatre Company’s touring production of “Anything Goes.”

Anything Goes" has everything going for it: fabulous music, boffo production numbers, clever lyrics and nonstop charm.

Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning, snazzy revival of Cole Porter’s evergreen 1934 musical, which opened Wednesday at the Golden Gate Theatre, serves up nearly three hours of toe-tapping fun.

Constantly revived and revised, the zany burlesque of love and shenanigans on an ocean liner (original book by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse,  revised by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman) has been a staple in all levels of theater for decades. It’s because Porter’s brilliant lyrics command rapt attention, even with references that are obscure to contemporary audiences.

For example, when he uses "eyes of Irene Bordoni" as a superlative in "You’re the Top," almost nobody today knows that she was a Broadway actress of the 1920s who premiered great Porter songs such as "Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love."

But it doesn’t matter. All of the songs in "Anything Goes" are fantastic, from the show-stopping title number, with its infectiously fun tap-dancing sailors, to the equally riotous "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," and "It’s De-lovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You" and more.

Directed by Jay Alger, the small orchestra performs admirably, and thankfully, the sound is well-balanced and amplification moderate.

Tony-winning choreographer Kathleen Marshall directs the smooth, effective production, which hits just a few slow spots.

Without Roundabout’s Broadway stars Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, the well-chosen touring cast gets the job done.

Rachel York, as the irascible moll Reno Sweeney, has a big voice and presence. Singing interestingly elongated phrases, her diction, so important for a Porter musical, is wonderfully clear (as it is with most of the show, except in a few chorus numbers).

Erich Bergen, as Billy Crocker, sings well, but his dancing is merely adequate, and he doesn’t quite show the personality that makes a romantic lead irresistible. Alex Finke, as the girl Billy pursues, makes the most of a relatively brief role.

Broadway veterans Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin (the hilarious "Public Enemy No. 13") and Dennis Kelly as clueless rich man Elisha Whitney exude charisma.

Anything Goes
Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; closes Feb. 3
Tickets: $40 to $110
Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com





About The Author

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben

Janos Gereben is a writer and columnist for SF Classical Voice; he has worked as writer and editor with the NY Herald-Tribune, TIME Inc., UPI, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, San Jose Mercury News, Post Newspaper Group, and wrote documentation for various technology companies.
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