Theater review: 'Anything Goes' -- 3 stars
Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” widely considered the definitive musical comedy of the 1930s, is a giddy explosion of escapist romance, combining old-fashioned farce, extended dance breaks and light, breezy songs.
The Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival uses the same revised book as the celebrated 1987 Lincoln Center staging with Patti LuPone. The score, which has been padded with other Cole Porter standards, includes “It’s De-lovely,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Friendship” and “You’re the Top.”
The plot follows Billy Crocker (Colin Donnell), a young stockbroker who stows away on an ocean liner in order to prevent the marriage of his beloved Hope (Laura Osnes) to a musty Englishman (Adam Godley).
He is joined by Reno (Sutton Foster), an evangelist turned nightclub singer, and Moonface (Joel Grey), a gangster credited as Public Enemy No. 13. Since Billy is supposed to be in New York and his boss (John McMartin) is onboard, he must constantly disguise himself.
Kathleen Marshall’s lavish production occasionally feels labored. But for the most part, to quote one of the musical’s most famous lyrics, “it’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.” Her choreography manages to turn almost every production number into a showstopper.
Foster lacks the rough-and-tough sex appeal to credibly portray Reno, but she handles the belting, dancing and comedy bits with such perfection that you hardly care. In “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” she all but blows the roof off the joint.
Similarly, Joel Grey is not a natural fit for the role of Moonface. He wears an odd puppy-dog expression for the bulk of the show, moves too slowly and speaks too softly.
Luckily, the rest of the cast is terrific, especially Donnell, Osnes, McMartin and Jessica Walter, who is best remembered as Lucille Bluth on “Arrested Development.”
If you go: “Anything Goes” plays through July 31 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. 124 W. 43rd St., roundabouttheatre.org