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Anything Goes

Anything Goes
Sheet music from original Broadway production Anything Goes
Music Cole Porter
Lyrics Cole Porter
Book Guy Bolton
P.G. Wodehouse
Productions 1934 Broadway
1935 West End
1936 Film version
1954 Television version
1956 Film version
1962 Off-Broadway
1987 Broadway Revival
1989 West End Revival
2003 West End Revival
2011 Broadway Revival
2012 National Tour
2013 Buenos Aires
2015 UK National Tour
2015 Australian National Tour
Awards Tony Award for Best Revival
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Anything Goes is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The original book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, heavily revised by the team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. The musical introduced such songs as "Anything Goes", "You're the Top", and "I Get a Kick Out of You."

Since its 1934 debut at the Alvin Theatre (now known as the Neil Simon Theatre) on Broadway, the musical has been revived several times in the United States and Britain and has been filmed twice. The musical has long been a popular choice for school and community productions.[1]


  • History 1
  • Synopsis 2
    • Original 1934 libretto 2.1
  • Characters 3
  • Musical numbers 4
  • Productions 5
    • Broadway 5.1
    • West End 5.2
    • 1962 Off Broadway revival 5.3
    • 1987 Broadway revival 5.4
    • 1989 West End revival 5.5
    • 2002 Concert 5.6
    • 2002-2003 London and West End revivals 5.7
    • 2011 Broadway revival 5.8
    • 2012 US National tour 5.9
    • 2015 UK Tour 5.10
    • 2015 Australian revival 5.11
    • Other Productions 5.12
  • Movie versions 6
  • Television version 7
  • Awards and nominations 8
    • 1987 Broadway revival 8.1
    • 1989 London revival 8.2
    • 2002 London revival 8.3
    • 2011 Broadway revival 8.4
  • Recordings 9
  • In popular culture 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The original idea for a musical set on board an ocean liner came from producer Vinton Freedley, who was living on a boat, having left the US to avoid his creditors.[2] He selected the writing team, P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, and the star, Ethel Merman. The first draft of the show was called Crazy Week, which became Hard to Get, and finally Anything Goes. The original plot involved a bomb threat, a shipwreck, and hijinks on a desert island,[3] but, just a few weeks before the show was due to open, a fire on board the passenger ship SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of 138 passengers and crew members. According to one version,[4] Freedley judged that to proceed with a show on a similar subject would be in dubious taste, and he insisted on changes to the script. However, theatre historian Lee Davis maintains that Freedley wanted the script changed because it was "a hopeless mess."[5] Bolton and Wodehouse were in England at the time and were thus no longer available, so Freedley turned to his director, Howard Lindsay, to write a new book.[3] Lindsay recruited press agent Russel Crouse as his collaborator, beginning a lifelong writing partnership.[3] The roles of Billy Crocker and Moonface Martin were written for the well-known comedy team William Gaxton and Victor Moore, and Gaxton's talent for assuming various disguises was featured in the libretto.

Porter wrote the majority of Anything Goes in the Rosecliff mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, while staying as a houseguest there.


Four versions of the libretto of Anything Goes exist: the original 1934 libretto, the 1962 revival libretto, the 1987 revival libretto, and the 2011 revival libretto. The story has been revised, though all involve similar romantic complications aboard the SS American and feature the same major characters. The score has been altered, with some songs cut and others reassigned to different scenes and characters, and augmented with various Porter songs from other shows.

Original 1934 libretto

Act I

Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street broker, has fallen in love at first sight with a beautiful girl he met in a taxi. His boss, Elisha J. Whitney, is preparing to make a business deal and is going to travel to London aboard the SS American. Evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney will be traveling aboard the same ship. Billy sees Reno as a friend, but she obviously has feelings for him, ("I Get A Kick Out of You"). Billy goes to the dock to say farewell to his boss and Reno, ("Bon Voyage") and glimpses the mysterious girl again. He learns that she is heiress Hope Harcourt and, escorted by her mother, Mrs. Harcourt, is on her way to England with her fiancé Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a handsome but stuffy and hapless British nobleman. Billy stows away on the ship in hopes of winning Hope's heart. "Moonface" Martin, a second-rate gangster labeled "Public Enemy 13", and his girlfriend, Bonnie, have disguised themselves as a minister and a missionary and innocently aided by Billy, board the ship under their assumed identities, stranding the ship's real chaplain back at the port. Moonface and Bonnie mistakenly leave behind their leader, "Snake Eyes" Johnson, Public Enemy 1.

To thank Billy, Bonnie and Moonface let him have Snake Eyes Johnson's passport and ticket without telling him to whom they belong. Billy cons Evelyn into leaving him alone with Hope, by convincing him he is very ill. When he goes to get some air, Billy and Hope meet again, and it turns out she has been unable to stop thinking about him as well, ("All Through The Night"). Though Hope prefers Billy, she insists she must marry Evelyn, though she gives no reason. Unbeknownst to Billy, her family's company is in financial trouble and a marriage to Evelyn would promote a merger and save it. The ship's crew gets a cable from New York saying that Public Enemy 1 is on board. Moonface admits his true identity to Billy and he and Bonnie conspire to disguise Billy as a crew member since he is now presumed to be Snake Eyes Johnson.

A quartet of lovelorn sailors comfort themselves with the thought of romance when they reach shore ("There'll Always Be a Lady Fair"). On deck, Bonnie lures the sailors to her ("Where Are The Men?"), then steals the clothes of one of the men for Billy.

Hope discusses her impending marriage with Evelyn and discovers that he is not particularly pleased with the engagement either. Billy asks Reno to help separate Evelyn and Hope, and she agrees. Billy and Reno reaffirm their friendship, ("You're the Top"). Reno tries to charm Evelyn, she succeeds, and he invites her for a drink in his cabin. She and Moon plot that Moon should burst into the cabin and discover Reno half-naked in Evelyn's arms, providing sufficient reason for breaking off the engagement. However, when Moon breaks into the room, machine gun in tow, he instead sees Reno fully dressed and Evelyn nearly undressed. Moon tries to invent some indecent explanation for the situation, but Evelyn insists that he would be quite pleased by any rumor depicting him as a passionate lover, especially if Hope heard it. Moon admits that the plot has failed.

The crew discover that Billy is not a sailor, and Moon and Reno create a new disguise for him from a stolen pair of trousers, a jacket taken from a drunken passenger, and hair cut from Mrs. Harcourt's Pomeranian and made into a beard. Reno tells Billy that Evelyn has kissed her, and she is sure she will be Lady Oakleigh soon, since love moves so quickly these days, ("Anything Goes"). Mrs. Harcourt, recognizing her dog's hair, angrily pulls off Billy's beard and the crew and passengers realize he must be the wanted man. As Snake Eyes Johnson, Billy is an instant celebrity.

Act II

Billy is honored by both crew and passengers as "Public Enemy Number One." He tells the Captain that Moon (who is still disguised as a minister) is helping him reform from his wicked ways. Moon is asked to lead a revival in the ship's lounge. The passengers confess their sins to the "Reverend", and Lord Evelyn admits to a one-night stand with a young Chinese woman, Plum Blossom. Hope is not impressed with Billy's charade, and to please her, he confesses to everyone that he is not really Snake Eyes Johnson. Moon attempts to compensate by revealing that he is not a minister; he is Public Enemy Number Thirteen. The captain sends them both to the brig. Reno restores the mood of the Revival, ("Blow, Gabriel Blow").

Moon tries to cheer Billy up ("Be Like the Bluebird"). Billy doubts he will ever see Hope again; he and Moon cannot leave their cell until they return to America. Their card-playing Chinese cellmates, imprisoned for conning all the third class passengers out of their money, will be put ashore in England. Moon and Billy challenge them to a game of strip poker, win their clothes, and disguise themselves again.

Billy, Moon, and Reno show up at the Oakleigh estate in Chinese garb. Billy and Moon tell Oakleigh's uncle that they are the parents of "Plum Blossom" and threaten to publicize Evelyn's indiscretion if he does not marry her. Oakleigh offers to buy them off and Moon gleefully accepts the cash, much to Billy and Reno's chagrin.

Billy and Reno find Hope and Evelyn, who are both unhappy with the prospect of their matrimony. Hope declares that she desperately wants to marry Billy ("The Gypsy in Me"). Billy spots Whitney and finally learns that Evelyn and Hope's planned marriage is really an awkward business merger. Billy realises that Oakleigh is manipulating them all; Hope's company is really worth millions and Billy informs Whitney of that fact. Whitney offers to buy the firm from Hope at an exorbitant price, and she accepts. The marriage is called off since a merger is now impossible. Billy and Hope get married, as do Reno and Evelyn. A cable from the U.S. government fixes Billy's passport problems and declares Moon "harmless". Moon indignantly pockets Oakleigh's check and refuses to return it.


  • Reno Sweeney — An evangelist turned nightclub singer and an old friend of Billy's.
  • Billy Crocker — a young Wall Street broker in love with Hope.
  • Hope Harcourt — An American debutante and the object of Billy's affection.
  • Moonface Martin — a second-rate gangster, "Public Enemy Number 13"
  • Lord Evelyn Oakleigh — Hope's wealthy and stuffy English fiancé
  • Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt — Hope's haughty and overbearing mother
  • Bonnie/Erma — Moonface's girlfriend
  • Elisha J. Whitney — Ivy league Wall Street banker, Billy's boss.
  • Reno's Angels (Purity, Charity, Chastity and Virtue). (1934 original and 1962 revival / 2002 concert and 2011 revival) - Reno's back up singers.
  • Ritz Quartette (1934 original) / Lady Fair Quartet (1987 revival)
  • Ching and Ling ("Luke" and "John" in the 1987 revival and 2002 concert) — Two Chinese 'Converts' and reformed gamblers who accompany Bishop Henry T. Dobson
  • Captain, Steward, Purser on the ship
  • The Right Reverend, Bishop Henry T. Dobson
  • Ships crew, Passengers, Reporters, Photographers and F.B.I. Agents

Musical numbers

This chart shows all songs that were performed; placement of the songs varied. Source
Internet Broadway Database listing[6]
1934 Original 1962 Revival 1987 and 2011 Revivals
"I Get a Kick Out of You"
Reno expresses her love to Billy in the bar at the beginning of Scene 1, reprised later near the show's end. The song is sung later, when Reno realizes she is in love with Evelyn. Same as 1934.
"(There's No Cure Like Travel) Bon Voyage"
The Sailors and guests board the ship, ready to depart, singing the "Bon Voyage" section of the song, but with no "There's No Cure Like Travel" portion. Same as 1934. The complete song is sung. ("There's No Cure Like Travel" was written for 1934, but later cut).
"You'd Be So Easy to Love"
Written for 1934, but cut during rehearsals. N/A Here, Billy makes an advance on Hope. Although she turns him away, she secretly agrees with him.
"The Crew Song"
N/A N/A Originally written for a 1914 college show, Paranoia. Elisha J. Whitney prepares for a date with Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt and sings about his Yale days.
"Sailor's Chanty (There'll Always Be A Lady Fair)"
Sung by sailors during a scene change, and later reprised. N/A Same as 1934, with fewer verses and no reprise.
"Heaven Hop"
N/A Originally written for Paris, Bonnie attracts a group of sailors. N/A
"Where Are the Men?"
Bonnie attracts a group of sailors. Replaced by "Heaven Hop". N/A
"You're the Top"
Billy convinces Reno to help him win Hope's heart (where "Friendship" would go in the revivals). There is also an encore of the song, totalling approximately six minutes. Sung in place of "I Get a Kick Out of You" in the beginning of the show with fewer verses. Similar to 1934, but sung before "You'd Be So Easy to Love", also with fewer verses.
N/A Originally written for DuBarry Was a Lady; Reno, Billy, and Moonface sing about their strong bond Similar to 1962, but only Reno and Moonface sing, and some alternate lyrics
"It's De-Lovely"
N/A Originally written for Red, Hot and Blue; Billy and Hope have a romantic moment where "All Through the Night" was in 1934 and "You'd Be So Easy to Love" was in 1987. They are joined by the sailors and women of the ship. Sung later in the musical, near the Act I Finale. The sailors and women do not join in, and there is an extended dance sequence in the middle.
"Anything Goes"
Sung by Reno before the Act I Finale when she considers marrying Evelyn. Ended Act I and sung about Billy as Snake Eyes, rather than Evelyn. Contained alternate lyrics. Similar to 1962, with more alternate lyrics. The 2011 version adds a verse not heard since 1962: "They think he's gangster number one, so they've made him their favorite son, and that goes to show: Anything Goes!"
"Act I Finale"
Whereas the revivals ended the act with "Anything Goes", the 1934 original had a scene where Hope rejects Billy, who is posing as Snake Eyes. Reno and Moonface try to cheer him up with a reprise of "You're the Top", to no avail. Billy is the hero of the ship to everyone but the girl he really wants. Replaced by "Anything Goes". Replaced by "Anything Goes".
"Public Enemy Number One"
After a marching-style intro by the sailor quartet, the song turns into a mock-hymn to Billy. The opening verse is cut, leaving only the hymn, sung a cappella style with no instrumentals, unlike the other versions. The introduction is back, sung by the Captain and Purser instead of the sailors, and also shortened a bit.
"Let's Step Out"
N/A Originally written for Fifty Million Frenchmen. Bonnie arouses the passengers after the "Public Enemy Number One" with a dance number. N/A
"What a Joy to be Young"
A heartbroken Hope sings about how she preferred herself back when she was ignorant, but blissful. N/A N/A
"Let's Misbehave"
N/A Originally written for Paris; Reno and Evelyn hit it off. N/A
"Blow, Gabriel, Blow"
Sung by Reno to cheer everyone up after Billy is arrested as an impostor. Same as 1934. Same as 1934, but sung before Billy is arrested.
"Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye"
N/A N/A Originally written for Red, Hot and Blue. Sung by Hope after Billy is arrested, in which she realizes she's in love too late.
"Be Like the Bluebird"
Sung by Moonface to cheer up Billy in the brig. Same as 1934 (missing a verse), but sung after "All Through the Night". Same as 1934 (missing a verse).
"All Through the Night"
Sung by Billy and Hope on deck early in the show, where "It's De-Lovely" and "You'd Be So Easy to Love" went in revivals, with a chorus. Reprised in the brig. Same as the 1934 reprise, with no chorus and a cut verse. Same as the 1934 reprise, complete with chorus, but more cut verses.
"Gypsy in Me"
Sung by Hope, letting her wild side out after Reno tells her that Billy loves her back. N/A Now sung by Evelyn, turning into a comic number, and adding to the plot about his family's disturbing secret. Similar (plot wise) to "Let's Misbehave".
"Take Me Back to Manhattan"
N/A Originally written for The New Yorkers. Sung by a homesick Reno and her Angels. N/A
"Buddie Beware"
Sung by Reno about her problems with men, replaced in later runs with a reprise of "I Get a Kick Out of You". N/A Sung by Erma to the sailors who are in love with her. Fewer verses.
Reprises of "You're the Top" and "Anything Goes". Same as 1934 Reprises of "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Anything Goes". In the 2011 revival, the cast sings reprises of "It's De-Lovely" and "Anything Goes".



The musical had a tryout in Boston, before opening on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on November 21, 1934. It ran for 420 performances, becoming the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s, despite the impact of the Great Depression on Broadway patrons' disposable income. Directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Robert Alton and sets by Donald Oenslager, it starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, William Gaxton as Billy Crocker and Victor Moore as Moonface Martin.

West End

Charles B. Cochran, a British theatrical manager had bought the London performance rights during the show's Boston run,[4] and he produced it at the West End's Palace Theatre. The musical opened on June 14, 1935 and ran for 261 performances. The cast included Jeanne Aubert as Reno Sweeney (the name changed to Reno La Grange), Sydney Howard as Moonface Martin and Jack Whiting as Billy Crocker. P. G. Wodehouse was engaged to replace the specifically American references in the book and lyrics with references more appropriate to an English audience.[7]

1962 Off Broadway revival

The production was revived in an Off Broadway production in 1962, opening on May 15, 1962 at the Orpheum Theatre. It was directed by Lawrence Kasha with a cast that included Hal Linden as Billy Crocker, Kenneth Mars as Sir Evelyn, and Eileen Rodgers as Reno Sweeney. For this revival, the script was revised to incorporate several of the changes from the movie versions. Most changes revolved around the previously minor character Bonnie. This revision was also the first stage version of Anything Goes to incorporate several songs from other Porter shows: "Take Me Back to Manhattan" from The New Yorkers, 1930, "It's De-Lovely" from Red Hot and Blue, 1934, "Friendship" from DuBarry Was a Lady, 1939, and "Let's Misbehave" from Paris, 1928.

1987 Broadway revival

For the 1987 Broadway revival, John Weidman and Timothy Crouse (Russel's son) updated the book and re-ordered the musical numbers, using Cole Porter songs from other Porter shows, a practice which the composer often engaged in. The music was rescored for a 16-piece swing band, in the style of early Benny Goodman, instead of the earlier 28-piece orchestrations.[8] This production opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, in Lincoln Center, on October 19, 1987, and ran for 784 performances. With direction by Jerry Zaks and choreography by Michael Smuin, it starred Patti LuPone as Reno Sweeney, Howard McGillin as Billy, Bill McCutcheon as Moonface, and Anthony Heald as Lord Evelyn; Leslie Uggams and Linda Hart were replacement Renos. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards (including nominations for McGillin, LuPone, McCutcheon, and Heald), winning for Best Revival of a Musical, Best featured actor (McCutcheon), and Best Choreography. The production also won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival of a Musical and LuPone won the Outstanding Actress award.

1989 West End revival

When British actress/singer Elaine Paige heard of the success of the 1987 Broadway production, she attended a performance of it and was determined to bring the show to London. To secure a place in the show's cast, Paige decided it was best she co-produced the show with her then partner, lyricist Tim Rice. The London production opened in July 1989 at the Prince Edward Theatre. Paige starred as Reno Sweeney [9](she was replaced later in the run by Louise Gold). The original cast also starred Howard McGillin as Billy Crocker[9](who was replaced later in the show's run by John Barrowman),[10]Bernard Cribbins as Moonface and Kathryn Evans as Erma. The show transferred to Australia the same year and played in both Sydney and Melbourne starring Geraldine Turner in the role of Reno Sweeney.

2002 Concert

In April 2002, a one-night-only concert performance of the show was performed at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Patti LuPone played Reno with Howard McGillin as Billy and Boyd Gaines as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. LuPone and Gaines would later star together in the 2008 Broadway revival of Gypsy. The performance was directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom with music supervision by David Chase and designs by Tony Walton.

2002-2003 London and West End revivals

The National Theatre revived the musical, which opened at the Olivier Theatre on December 18, 2002 and closed on March 22, 2003. The production then transferred to the West End at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, running from September 26, 2003 (in previews) through August 28, 2004. Directed by Trevor Nunn, it starred Sally Ann Triplett, John Barrowman and Yao Chin, (who is now a TV reporter). A cast recording of this production is available.[11]

2011 Broadway revival

A revival of the 1987 Broadway rewrite opened on April 7, 2011 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. Previews began on March 10, 2011. This production was directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with musical supervision by Rob Fisher, dance arrangements by David Chase and designs by Derek McLane and Martin Pakledinaz. This revival retains much of the 1987 orchestrations by Michael Gibson with some additions from arranger Bill Elliott.

The show's opening night cast featured Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney, Joel Grey as Moonface Martin, Laura Osnes as Hope Harcourt, Jessica Walter as Evangeline Harcourt, Colin Donnell as Billy Crocker, Adam Godley as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, John McMartin as Elisha Whitney, Jessica Stone as Erma,[12] Robert Creighton as Purser, Andrew Cao as Luke, Raymond J. Lee as John, and Walter Charles as the Captain.[13][14] The production was received generally very well by the critics and received a total of nine Tony Award nominations and ten Drama Desk Award nominations, including Best Actress in a Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Revival of a Musical. The revival won the Drama Desk Awards and Tony Awards for Best Revival and Best Choreography and Foster won the Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical.[15]

A cast recording of this production became available as a digital download on August 23, 2011 and it arrived in stores on September 20, 2011.[16]

Stephanie J. Block took over for Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney in a limited engagement (November 4–23, 2011) while Foster filmed a television pilot.[17][18] Block took over as Reno on March 15, 2012, as Foster left the musical to take a role in a television series.[19]

The production was originally scheduled to run through July 31, 2011, and was initially extended to April 29, 2012.[20] It was extended two more times before closing on July 8, 2012 after 521 regular performances and 32 previews.[21][22]

2012 US National tour

A U.S national tour began[23] in October 2012 at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio and will play more than 25 other major cities.[24] Rachel York plays Reno Sweeney.[25] Other cast-members include Fred Applegate as Moonface Martin, Erich Bergen as Billy Crocker, Jeff Brooks as Purser, Joyce Chittick as Erma, Alex Finke as Hope Harcourt, Dennis Kelly as Elisha Whitney, Vincent Rodriguez III as Luke, Marcus Shane as John, Sandra Shipley as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Edward Staudenmayer as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, and Chuck Wagner as the Captain.[26]

2015 UK Tour

A UK wide tour of the critically acclaimed Sheffield Theatres production was announced in the Summer of 2014. The production starts in the New Wimbledon Theatre January 29, 2015 and visits 32 venues in its nine-month run. The production stars Debbie Kurup (The Bodyguard)as Reno Sweeney and Matt Rawle (Evita) as Billy Crocker. Until April 4, 2015 Hugh Sachs (Benidorm) will star as Moonface Martin and Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders) will star as Evangeline Harcourt. From the 6 April 2015 these roles will be played by Shaun Williamson (EastEnders) and Kate Anthony (Coronation Street) respectively.

2015 Australian revival

An Australian revival was announced in September 2014 with the cast announced to be led by Caroline O'Connor as the evangelist turned night club singer, Reno Sweeney as well as a line-up of performers including Todd McKenny, Alex Rathgeber, Claire Lyon, Wayne Scott Kermond as well as Alan Jones playing the Captain. However, due to prior commitments Jones had to be replaced in Melbourne and Brisbane by Gerry Connolly. The Revival plays in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney sequentially running from June until November. The revival is directed by Dean Bryant.

Other Productions

Anything Goes is very popular amongst Amateur Dramatics societies. It is performed all over the world, in many different cultures and societies.

Movie versions

In 1936, Paramount Pictures turned Anything Goes into a movie musical. It starred Ethel Merman (again as Reno), with Bing Crosby in the role of Billy Crocker. Other cast members included Ida Lupino, Charles Ruggles, Arthur Treacher, and Margaret Dumont. The director was Lewis Milestone. Among those contributing new songs were Hoagy Carmichael, Richard A. Whiting, Leo Robin, and Friedrich Hollaender.

The book was drastically rewritten for a second film version, also by Paramount, released in 1956. This movie again starred Bing Crosby (whose character was once more renamed) and Donald O'Connor. The female leads were Zizi Jeanmaire and Mitzi Gaynor. The script departed significantly from the original story and was written by Sidney Sheldon. The lesser-known Porter songs were cut, and new songs, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, were substituted. In short, it became a new movie that used some Porter songs.

Television version

In 1954, Ethel Merman, at the age of forty-six, reprised her role as Reno in a specially adapted live television version of the musical, co-starring Frank Sinatra as the hero, now renamed Harry Dane, Merman's good friend Bert Lahr (who had co-starred with her on Broadway in DuBarry Was a Lady) as Moonface Martin, and Sheree North.[27] This version was broadcast live on February 28, 1954 as an episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour, and has been preserved on kinescope. It used five of the original songs plus several other Porter numbers, retained the shipboard setting, but had a somewhat different plot.[28] It has been reported that Merman and Sinatra did not get along well; this was the only time they worked together.

Awards and nominations

1987 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1987 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Howard McGillin Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Patti LuPone Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Bill McCutcheon Won
Anthony Heald Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Jerry Zaks Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Michael Smuin Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Cole Porter Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Tony Walton Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated
Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Howard McGillin Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Patti LuPone Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Bill McCutcheon Won
Anthony Heald Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Jerry Zaks Nominated
Best Choreography Michael Smuin Won
Best Scenic Design Tony Walton Nominated
Best Costume Design Nominated
Best Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated

1989 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1989 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Musical Elaine Paige Nominated

2002 London revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2002 Laurence Olivier Award Outstanding Musical Production Won

2011 Broadway revival

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2011 Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Sutton Foster Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Adam Godley Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Kathleen Marshall Nominated
Best Choreography Won
Best Scenic Design Derek McLane Nominated
Best Costume Design Martin Pakledinaz Nominated
Best Lighting Design Peter Kaczorowski Nominated
Best Sound Design Brian Ronan Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Colin Donnell Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Sutton Foster Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Adam Godley Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Laura Osnes Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Kathleen Marshall Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Won
Outstanding Costume Design Martin Pakledinaz Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design Brian Ronan Won
Outstanding Set Design Derek McLane Won
2012 Grammy Award[29] Best Musical Show Album Nominated


There are many popular cast recordings of the show including:

In popular culture

For more information about the title song and references to it in popular culture, see Anything Goes (Cole Porter song)
  • Title song was used for PBS' American Experience documentary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt because of the last verse of the song.
  • In the 1972 movie What's Up, Doc?, the song "You're the Top" is sung for the opening and closing credits by Barbra Streisand. Ryan O'Neal joins her for the closing credits and this marks his only on-screen singing in a movie. The movie uses at least two other tunes from this musical as background music: "Anything Goes" and "I Get a Kick Out of You", are heard during the first hotel-lobby scene.
  • In the 1974 movie Blazing Saddles, "I Get a Kick Out of You" is performed comedically by Cleavon Little and the other actors portraying black railroad workers, complete with a full harmony arrangement.
  • "You're The Top" was also used in the movie Evil Under the Sun, performed by Diana Rigg.
  • In the 1984 film, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", Kate Capshaw performs the title song in Mandarin.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Saving Private Brian", the Sergeant trainer claims "Anything Goes" to be one of his most favorite shows. Also, in the episode Brian: Portrait of a Dog, Lois wants to sing showtunes in the car. She begins to sing "Anything Goes".
  • In an episode of Summer Heights High Mr G cancels a production of "Anything Goes" one week before opening.
  • In the play Dancing at Lughnasa by Irish playwright Brian Friel, the song "Anything Goes" is played on the radio and sung by Gerry Evans to Aggie and Chris. The song basically sums up the entire concept of the play: times changing and people changing with them.
  • In an episode of Gilmore Girls, "You're The Top" is sung with slight lyrical changes.
  • The song "Anything Goes" is played on Galaxy News Radio, a fictional radio station, in the post-apocalyptic video game Fallout 3.
  • During the latter half of BioShock, "You're The Top" can be heard playing from a Rapture radio.
  • Title song used as the title of the 2008 autobiography by John Barrowman, who starred as Billy Crocker in 1989, 2002 and 2003.
  • In an episode of Married...with Children called "Can't Dance, Don't Ask Me" Steve teaches Kelly to tap dance to "Anything Goes"
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "The Fortune" (from the 1988 revival series), the movie was the favorite film of Luis Barazon—one of the targets. Further, the segment of the movie where the title song is performed is "the part he likes the best". Also, the phrase "Anything Goes" was the second level password needed to access Barazon's financial records so that the money the Barazons stole from their country's treasury could be returned.
  • Title song was used in a mash-up with "Anything You Can Do" on the TV show Glee.
  • Anything Went was a parody of Anything Goes, partly shown on Mathnet, the rest being left to the viewer's imagination. This episode featured veteran broadway performer Tammy Grimes portraying fictional hammy veteran broadway performer Lauren Bacchanal.
  • In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Richie sings "You're with Top" replacing the words "Mona Lisa" with "Mommy Lisa"
  • A cover of the title song was released as a duet by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga in July 2014.
  • In the film "Passed Away", the minister sings "You're the Top"


  1. ^ TIME magazine reported in its May 26, 2008 issue, p. 51, that this musical tied (with Guys and Dolls) as the tenth most frequently produced musical by U.S. high schools in 2007.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Charles (2004). Cole Porter: A Biography. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 132.  
  3. ^ a b c Hischak, Thomas S. (2004). Through The Screen Door. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., p. 28. ISBN 0-8108-5018-4
  4. ^ a b Jasen, David A (1975). P G Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master. London: Garnstone Press. p. 143.  
  5. ^ Davis, Lee (1993). Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern. New York: James H Heineman. p. 332.  
  6. ^ Internet Broadway Database for "Anything Goes"
  7. ^ Day, Barry (2004). The Complete Lyrics of P G Wodehouse. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. pp. 407–14.  
  8. ^ New York Times, October 18, 1987, Stephen Holden, p. 90
  9. ^ a b Trucco, Terry. "A London Accent for 'Anything Goes'" New York Times, July 25, 1989
  10. ^ Webb, Paul. "John Barrowman Chats About Return to 'Anything Goes' Role in London", 7 October 2003
  11. ^ "Archive, 'Anything Goes'"
  12. ^ "Jessica Stone". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Colin Donnell, Adam Godley, Laura Osnes, John McMartin Are Passengers in Anything Goes" Playbill, December 7, 2010
  14. ^ BWW News Desk."Osnes, Stone et al. Join Foster & Grey in 'Anything Goes'; Full Cast Announced", December 7, 2010
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth."War Horse, Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, Normal Heart Win 2011 Tony Awards" Playbill, June 12, 2011
  16. ^ Anything Goes Cast Album In Stores Sept. 20, Earlier Via Digital Services
  17. ^ "Sutton Foster Takes 'ANYTHING GOES' Hiatus in Nov. for TV Pilot; Stephanie J. Block Steps in", October 19, 2011
  18. ^ Stephanie J. Block Will Fill in for Sutton Foster in Broadway's Anything Goes Starting Nov. 4
  19. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Times Have Changed! Stephanie J. Block Is New "Reno" of Broadway's Anything Goes'" Playbill, February 23, 2012
  20. ^ Jones, Kenneth.Voyage Extended: Anything Goes Will Steam Into April 2012, With Sutton Foster on the Bow" Playbill, September 19, 2011
  21. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. , With Stephanie J. Block and Joel Grey, Sails Into the Sunset July 8"Anything Goes"Tony-Winning Revival of Playbill, July 8, 2012
  22. ^ "Anything Goes", July 8, 2012
  23. ^ Viagas, Robert. Extends on Broadway and Plans U.S. Tour".Anything Goes" Playbill, June 12, 2011
  24. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Anything Goes Will Embark on National Tour in Fall 2012". Playbill. 
  25. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Tour Will Get a Kick out of Rachel York as Reno Sweeney".Anything Goes" Playbill, March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  26. ^ "Erich Bergen, Joyce Chittick, Alex Finke Join Cast of ANYTHING GOES Tour", August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  27. ^ "Anything Goes! on DVD". Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television. 
  28. ^ The Insider, Ken Mandelbaum, October 5, 2005
  29. ^ "Best Musical Theater Album". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Dec 2, 2011. Retrieved 2 Dec 2011. 

External links

  • Anything Goes (premier production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Lortel listing for 1962 Off Broadway revival
  • Internet Broadway Database listing for 1987 revival
  • Anything Goes (1987 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Anything Goes (2002 concert production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Anything Goes (2011 production) at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Tams-Witmark listing for 1987 production
  • Tams-Witmark listing for 1962 production
  • Anything Goes 1962 Broadway revival cast recording album on Masterworks Broadway
  • Playbill Vault listing for original 1934 production
  • Playbill Vault listing for 1987 revival
  • Playbill Vault listing for 2011 revival
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