music and lyrics by Cole Porter
book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse,
Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
March 1-24, 2018

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"Some get a kick from cocaine.
I'm sure that if
I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrif-
-icaly too,
Yet I get a kick out of you."

It’s 1934 and you’re going on a wild transatlantic cruise full of sex, booze, God, and gangsters.

New Line continues its 27th season with the rowdy, naughty, subversive masterpiece of musical comedy, Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, a stinging satire of Americans’ quirky habit of turning religion into show business and criminals into celebrities, along the way skewering Wall Street, Prohibition, Old Money Brits, and a few other ripe targets.

Anything Goes is a masterful mashup of musical comedy, gangaster movie, screwball comedy, and social satire, because even in terms of form, anything goes. First opening in a time when John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, Al Capone, and evangelists Aimee Semple McPherson and Billy Sunday were all national celebrities, this was potent, pointed satire; and it’s just as subversive today. The show’s evangelist turned nightclub singer Reno Sweeney is equal parts McPherson and infamous speakeasy hostess Texas Guinan (the model for Velma Kelly in Chicago). And though we never meet gangster Snake Eyes Johnson, he’s seems a fair double for Dillinger.

Anything Goes fearlessly ripped open the American psyche and spilled it all out onto a Broadway stage. And the American pysche hasn't changed that much since 1934. Despite its reputation as fluff, the show is a whip-smart satire of American "cafe society" (the 1% of 1934), with the steamship S.S. American standing in for Shakespeare’s woods, a place with no rules, where people find out who they really are and “correct” the mistakes they’ve made in the world of the City.

Artistic director Scott Miller says, “It never occurred to me until I was writing a musical theatre history book that the two main themes of Anything Goes are as New Liney as they could be, the commercializing of religion into show business – isn’t that what TV mega-churches are? – and the raising up of violent criminals into pop culture celebrities. Can we be sure that Reno Sweeney is any less authentic than Pat Robertson or Joel Osteen?”

New Line has chosen the 1962 version of the show (there are several versions), with a book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, and additional songs from several other Porter musicals. The New Liners will return to the wildness and the high-energy subversion of the original production. Miller has been studying the show for some time, including the original 1934 script (which probably couldn’t be produced today). "Over time, the show has been turned into a quaint, family-friendly piece of sketch comedy. I want to return it to its original, satiric, adult roots."

The cast of New Line Theatre’s Anything Goes includes Evan Fornachon (Billy Crocker), Eileen Engel (Hope Harcourt), Sarah Porter (Reno Sweeney), Zachary Allen Farmer (Sir Evelyn Oakleigh), Aaron Allen (Moonface Martin), Sarah Dowling (Bonnie), Jeffrey M. Wright (Mr. Whitney), Kimmie Kidd (Mrs. Harcourt), with Jason Blackburn, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor, Clayton Humburg, Will Pendergast, Michelle Sauer, Larissa White, Alyssa Wolf, and Sara Rae Womack. The show will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with musical direction by Nicolas Valdez, choreography by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack, scenic and lighting design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, and sound design by Ryan Day.

Want to explore more?
We recommend:

The 1988 studio recording of the original orchestrations

The 1962 off Broadway revival cast album

The 1987 Broadway revival cast album

Director Scott Miller's background essay about Anything Goes, from his next book

John Lahr's 2004 profile of Porter in The New Yorker

The Goodspeed's Study Guide for Anything Goes's guide to the lyric of "You're the Top"

A cool blog post, Anything Goes Decoded

Some great news footage of the real-world inspiration for Reno Sweeney and her Angels

A video clip of Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby singing "You're the Top" in the 1936 movie version, just two years after opening on Broadway


Tickets will go on sale in August 2017. ANYTHING GOES runs March 1-24, 2018, Thursday through Saturday evenings, all performances at 8:00 p.m., at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. March 1 is a preview. Click here for directions.

Tickets will be available through Metrotix outlets, including the Fox Theatre box office. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays. To charge tickets by phone, call Metrotix at 314-534-1111 or visit the Fox Theatre box office or the Metrotix website.

HIGH SCHOOL DISCOUNT: Any high school student with a valid school ID can get a $10 ticket for any performance all season long, with the code word for each show, which will posted only on New Line's Facebook page. This offer is available only at the door.

EDUCATORS DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with ID or other proof of active duty status. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council.

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