Summerstock Productions concludes season with “Anything Goes”

Madcap antics on the high seas and a Cole Porter score make “Anything Goes” an unforgettable musical.
BY RICK ROGERS rrogers@opubco.com Published: July 15, 2012

For all “Jeopardy” fans out there, today's category is 1930s musicals — five clues, each slightly more difficult than the one before it. Get all five correct and you'll earn $3,000 — or at least the satisfaction that you're a true musical theater aficionado.

This show was written as a sequel to “Of Thee I Sing.”

The pit orchestra for this production featured Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey.

This musical introduced the classic “Dancing in the Dark.”

An argument over which star should receive top billing in this musical was solved by crisscrossing Ethel Merman and Jimmy Durante's names above the title.

This musical marked the first partnership between Moss Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II.

How did you fare? The answers are “Let 'Em Eat Cake,” “Girl Crazy,” “The Band Wagon,” “Red, Hot and Blue!” and “Face the Music.”

Of these five 1930s musicals, how many have you seen? I'm guessing none. Why? The reasons range from weak books to unmemorable scores.

There are, however, two popular productions that were introduced during the 1930s, one a carefree musical whose convoluted plot didn't detract from its hit-filled score, the other, an operatic masterpiece that premiered not at the Metropolitan Opera but on Broadway.

Curiously, both musicals recently returned to Broadway, each show's leading lady won a Best Actress Tony Award and both productions took the Best Revival Tony Award. They are Cole Porter's “Anything Goes” and George and Ira Gershwin's “Porgy and Bess.”

Summerstock Productions will close its 2012 season this month with a production of “Anything Goes.” Directed and choreographed by Shannon Hurleigh, “Anything Goes” stars Renee Anderson as Reno Sweeney, Dallas Lish as Billy Crocker and Justin Larman as Moonface Martin.

“We wanted to present a classic show that everyone knows but something that hadn't been done recently,” Hurleigh said. “When ‘Anything Goes' was brought up, we jumped on it. The lyrics are clever and you leave the theater humming the songs.”

“Anything Goes” is indeed an embarrassment of musical riches. Its playlist includes “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You're the Top,” “Anything Goes,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and “All Through the Night.”

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