New York Week – Anything Goes

We’re back from a whirlwind theatre trip to New York and have a whole week of blog posts and videos about the trip.

First up we saw the Cole Porter classic Anything Goes. Here’s what we thought:


Lindsay: Hello! Here we are, Theatrefolk. We’re on a little bit of a road trip this week. We are in New York City.

Craig: Woop woop!

Lindsay: And it’s raining. We’re looking out the window and it’s pouring. But that will not deter us because we are here and we’ve already seen two shows. Craig, first one is?

Craig: First one was Anything Goes and what was really interesting, well, the first thing about it is we planned on seeing…

Lindsay: Something else.

Craig: We planned on seeing Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin’s show.

Lindsay: Yeah, and Mandy Patinkin, which we were very excited about because I’ve never seen Mandy Patinkin live, and we just wondered what songs they would do, and how they would interact, and we thought that would be lots of fun. But we got to the TKTS booth and…

Craig: Patti’s not in the show today.

Lindsay: We thought, “Why would we go see a two-person show when one of the people isn’t in it?”

Craig: Now, literally, that’s how the TKTS person told us. “Patti’s not in the show today!”

Lindsay: Luckily, we had sort of a backup plan.

Craig: Which was Anything Goes.

Lindsay: Which was Anything Goes for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve never seen it. The only thing I’ve ever seen is the big tap number on the Tony’s a couple of times. I’ve seen it this year with Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone did it a couple of years ago, and that’s all I know about the show other than it’s a classic.

Craig: Yeah, it’s a big Broadway show. It’s a classic written in the 30s. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. And what I loved about it was that it was about a time when theatre was really literally just about escaping realities. It was set during the Great Depression except the play celebrated opulence and over-the-top. And it comes at a time where, it’s funny, I was sitting there thinking, “Wow! Everything’s just so straight-forward.” You know, if a character says, “I love you,” they mean I love you. There’s no subtext, no hidden meaning, and it struck me while I was watching it. This was before, you know, Freud and this was before…

Lindsay: The method.

Craig: This was before the Stanislavski method. This was before any of this type of acting technique that involves, you know, subtext and back story and all that stuff.

Lindsay: Inner work.

Craig: Inner work. And so, I really appreciated that the cast actually just did the play straight too. There was no winking, no hinting.

Lindsay: They just did it and I have to tell you, this Sutton Foster, she is a… What a star. It’s impossible not to watch her. What I really appreciated was how generous she was when she was with other actors.

First of all, every other actor who was in a scene with her was at their best and she was never trying to take focus away from them. A really great example there is a song I never heard before about a guy who’s a straight-laced Englishman and he sings about having a little gypsy inside of him and it was a fabulous number and she’s sort of the second banana in it and she just let him be the lead even though, of course, she’s the star. And that’s pretty something else, too.

And the other thing that I really enjoyed was the dance numbers. Just stunning, stunning. Love those big cast dance numbers and I will say – now we’re going to get to what we didn’t like about it – holy cow, that first act is really long. First of all, lots of songs that sound the same, no dance numbers until we get to the very end of the act. It was an hour and a half.

Craig: An hour and a half first act.

Lindsay: Oh, my gosh! And, you know, when everyone already says what they’re thinking, I’m not quite sure why we need an hour and a half.

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: And the second act was awe! I’ve never seen a play so saved. I’ve never seen a play saved by its second act. The second act was fast. It was…

Craig: Breezy.

Lindsay: Breezy, funny, lots of dance numbers, lots of funny songs, it set it out, it whipped it all up, we got married and it was all done in less than an hour.

Craig: I think the second act brought the whole show back up to a nine out of ten.

Lindsay: Yes! Yeah, we were looking at a six or a seven and that second act, awesome.

Craig: So, that’s Anything Goes.

Tonight, we’re so excited because we’re going to be seeing a show that was written in the 70s?

Lindsay: Yeah, ‘71.

Craig: 1971 called Follies that evokes that era and does put all of that psychological stuff on it so I can’t wait to see how that’s handled.

Lindsay: Can’t wait to see that. And then, in another video, we’re going to talk about the New York Neo-Futurists and Eugene O’Neill’s stage directions.

Stay tuned!

About the author

Craig Mason