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ARCHIVE PAGE FOR - Anything Goes (NT)

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NT's Olivier Theatre: Previewed 11 December, Opened 18 December 2002, Closed 22 March 2003
Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Previewed 26 September, Opened 7 October 2003, Closed 28 August 2004

Musical by Cole Porter with original book by PG Wodehouse & Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse and new book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman. Directed by Trevor Nunn with choreographer by Stephen Mear, set designs by John Gunter, costumes by Anthony Powell and lighting by David Hersey. Music arranged and orchestrated by Michael Gibson, musical supervisor/ dance arranger/ conductor Gareth Valentine, associate musical director James Dunsmore andassistant musical director Ian Townsend with sound by Paul Groothuis. This version of Anything Goes was originally produced at Lincoln Center Theater, New York City in 1987.

WINNER! 2003 Olivier Award for 'Outstanding Musical Production'.

WINNER! Critics' Circle Theatre Award for 'Best Musical'.

The first 'golden age' of American musical comedy in the 1930's produced a crop of masterworks from the Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Their content was intentionally and exuberantly light-hearted, with farcical plots concerning highly satirised characters, but they nonetheless presented musical scores of exquisite sophistication and elegance. Cole Porter's Anything Goes will be the National's first excursion into this richly endowed territory.

Among the passengers heading for England on the luxury liner S.S. American are Reno Sweeney, a sometime celebrity evangelist turned nightclub entertainer and Lord Oakleigh, a wealthy English aristocrat, accompanied by his debutante fiancée, Hope Harcourt, her protective mother and Wall Street millionaire, Eli Whitney. Less legally on board are the stowaway Billy Crocker, desperately pursuing Hope, and Moonface Martin, Public Enemy Number Thirteen, desperately seeking the kind of notoriety enjoyed by Snake Eyes Johnson, who the FBI believe to be making the trip in disguise.

The fabulous tune-filled, dance-peppered score includes 'I Get A Kick Out of You', 'You're the Top', 'It's De-Lovely', 'Blow Gabriel Blow', 'You'd Be So Easy to Love', 'All Through the Night' and the galvanic title number 'Anything Goes'.

This production transfers to The Theatre Royal Drury Lane following a successful season at The National Theatre's Olivier Theatre (Previewed 11 December, Opened 18 December 2002, Closed 22 March 2003.

Cast for Theatre Royal Drury Lane (as of October 2003) includes: Sally Ann Triplett as 'Reno Sweeney', John Barrowman 'Billy Crocker', Barrie Ingham 'Eli Whitney', Annette McLaughlin 'Erma', Mary Stockley 'Hope Harcourt', Simon Day 'Lord Evelyn Oakleigh' and Martin Marquez 'Moonface Martin'.

The CD Anything Goes Original London Cast 2003) is available to buy from amazon.co.uk.

Sally Ann Triplett's West End musical credits include 'Grizabella' in Cats at the New London Theatre, 'Rizzo' in Grease at the Dominion Theatre, 'Ruby Keeler' in Joslon at the Victoria Palace Theatre and 'Mrs Big' in The Villains' Opera at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre.

Trevor Nunn's recent productions for the National include Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, South Pacific, The Relapse, My Fair Lady, Albert Speer, Summerfolk, The Merchant of Venice and Troilus and Cressida, and the forthcoming A Streetcar Named Desire.

Stephen Mear choreographed the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Singin' in the Rain, which was twice presented to great acclaim at the National; he was also associate choreographer with Susan Stroman on the NT production of Oklahoma!. He has worked extensively in this country and abroad; productions include The Witches of Eastwick (joint choreographer with Bob Avian, West End), Don Giovanni (Royal Opera House), Putting It Together (Chichester Festival Theatre), Stepping Out and Half a Sixpence (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Soul Train (Victoria Palace - Olivier Award nomination) and Of Thee I Sing (Bridewell Theatre).

John Gunter is a former Associate Designer of the National and has designed innumerable theatre and opera productions over the last three decades, including the NT's celebrated Guys and Dolls, Wild Honey and Skylight. At Glyndebourne his designs include Trevor Nunn's production of Porgy and Bess (also on TV and at Covent Garden), Albert Herring and Le Nozze di Figaro; and for the Royal Opera House, Fidelio, Simon Boccanegra and Der Fliegende Hollander.

The distinguished costume designer Anthony Powell has won three Oscars (for Travels with My Aunt, Death on the Nile and Tess); his many other films include Papillon, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Hook, 101 Dalmatians (costumes for Glenn Close) and 102 Dalmations. His extensive theatre design work include Trelawny of the "Wells" (NT) and Sunset Boulevard (London, LA & Broadway).

News about the show

On 11 September 2002: It was announced that this musical will open at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre on 18 December 2002.

On 20 November 2002: It was announced that this production will close on 22 March 2003.

On 16 January 2003: This production received 1 nomination at the 2003 Olivier Awards for 'Outstanding Musical Production'. The winners will be announced on Friday 14 February 2003. Click here for the full list of nominations...

On 4 February 2003: This production won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for 'Best Musical'.

On 14 February 2003: This production won the 2003 Olivier Award for 'Outstanding Musical Production'.

On 12 May 2003: This production will transfer to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 7 October 2003, following previews from 26 September 2003 - booking has now opened.

On 13 October 2003: A new 3½ month booking period covering performances from 19 January 2004 to 1 May 2004 was announced.

Extracts from the reviews:

From the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Season (October 2003) Cast included: Sally Ann Triplett as 'Reno Sweeney', John Barrowman 'Billy Crocker', Barrie Ingham 'Eli Whitney', Annette McLaughlin 'Erma', Mary Stockley 'Hope Harcourt', Simon Day 'Lord Evelyn Oakleigh' and Martin Marquez 'Moonface Martin':

"Anything Goes looks far better at Drury Lane than it did at the National Theatre where it started out... The cast are all on cracking form... The hits are awesome, the choreography a thunderous joy, and Trevor Nunn's production delivers on all fronts..." The Express

"...The first half lacks a screwball pace and you are sometimes left admiring John Gunter's revolving, three-tier cruise-ship set and Anthony Powell's costumes straight out of Thirties Vogue. It takes the Act I finale of the title song, showcasing Stephen Mear's superb ensemble choreography, to achieve the carefree fizz of a musical that, despite being written in the Thirties, has the spirit of the roaring Twenties... The production is at its best with the full-company numbers showing everyone hoofing like troupers. And all credit to Nunn for treating the material as the tap-dancing, high-kicking fluff that it is. The cast seem to enjoy themselves more as the show progresses and you will too." The Times

"Is it as good as it was? Absolutely... The show offers three hours of pure time-suspending pleasure. Above all, it recaptures a lost era of musical comedy when the paradisal innocence of the story was counterpointed by the sharp sophistication of the lyrics... As tune-and-toe shows go, this is about as good as it gets." The Guardian

"...Trevor Nunn's top-notch production premiered at the National last December... in Drury Lane where John Gunter's stage model of a luxury liner looks cramped and the air of luxury is thin, the musical still works better. Nunn's cast dance, sing and act with fresh vivacity... Stephen Mear's choreography is dynamic rather than subtle and the orchestra occasionally drown the wittily ingenious lyrics. But these are quibbles..." The London Evening Standard

From the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre Season (December 2002) Cast included: Sally Ann Triplett as 'Reno Sweeney', Denis Quilley 'Eli Whitney', John Barrowman 'Billy Crocker', Annette McLaughlin 'Erma' and Mary Stockley 'Hope Harcourt' with Christopher Bennett, Daniel Crossley, Jane Fowler, Jason Gardiner, Charlotte Gorton, Richard Henders, Akiya Henry, Duncan MacVicar, Samantha Modeste, Tam Mutu, Alexis Owen Hobbs, Corey Skaggs, Nicola Sloane and Rachel Stanley:

"...The original story by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton has had two rewrites, and Trevor Nunn's buoyant production - you'd have to be a hard-hearted Scrooge not to have a good time - uses them both... Reno was written for Ethel Merman... Trevor Nutin's production has Sally Ann Triplett as Reno, a good gal with a fine personality. But she ain't no Merman... To fill the National's vast Olivier stage, we have big amplified sound, big cheesy grins, and big tap dance sequences. I am no slouch at being a grouch but I still had a great time, and so will you..." The Daily Mail

"...My impression from the press night is that it will go down as a hit. And yet the singing and the acting are second-rate... When Sally Ann Triplett (Reno) sings that famous line "You're the smile of the Mona Lisa" to Billy, the smile he (John Barrowman) then demonstrates involves two full grinning rows of gleaming white teeth. How does Mona Lisa smile, Billy? Frankly, the whole production is like this: obvious, cack-handed, and just off the mark... The high point? The group dances by Stephen Mear, who gets people really dancing in a way the musical team don't get the characters really singing. Yet Mear, who is inventive and stylish when handling a complex stageful of people, falls back on to stale formula in more intimate dances... This is a musical performed with too little musical flair." The Financial Times

"...Nunn pitches the material with just the right degree of potty pizzazz in a production powered by a spot-on cast who all have the crisp comic outlines of a cartoon... Sally Ann Triplett is sensational as Reno Sweeney, the tough-broad evangelist siren, belting her lungs out with a brassy wit and verve and displaying a gift for physical clowning that gives velocity and variety to those clever but dramatically static songs... To adapt one of the lyrics, Nunn's production is de-licious, de-lightful, de-lovely – and de-finitive." The Independent

"...There are moments of true sublimity, many provided by the choreographer Stephen Mear, who has supplied some fabulously inventive routines that find the whole company dancing up a storm... It's a night of delightfully corny gags, great songs, and wonderful performances, with the whole company giving the impression that they are having the time of their lives... John Barrowman is superb as the romantic lead Billy... The show's the top, it's the Trevor Nunn, it's the top, it's tremendous fun." The Daily Telegraph

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