Classic Show “Anything Goes” Is Still Fun for Modern Audiences

Rachel York (center) stars as nightclub singer Reno Sweeney in the Roundabout Theatre Company's tour of its Tony Award®-winning 2011 Broadway revival of "Anything Goes" (photo by Joan Marcus)
Rachel York (center) stars as nightclub singer Reno Sweeney in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s tour of its Tony Award®-winning 2011 Broadway revival of “Anything Goes” (photo by Joan Marcus)

Cole Porter’s 1930s romp “Anything Goes” might seem an odd choice for DPAC, a venue that’s known for its hot-at-the-moment shows. Roundabout Theatre Company’s production, however, proves that there’s still a lot of life and humor left in this classic.

The action (and calamity!) starts when Billy Crocker (Josh Franklin) stows away on an ocean liner bound for London. During his time aboard, he has to simultaneously hide from his boss and the Captain and win the love of the very-engaged Hope Harcourt (Alex Finke).

The story unfolds, getting more and more ridiculous (but hilarious) by the moment, on a pristine, realistic ocean liner set filled with plenty of sexy sailors and even a few real-life criminals. Fitting in with the over-the-top motif, the costume design is all about sparkles and sequins for the ladies and sharp lines and creases for the men.

Though some of the humor and language feels a bit dated, there are still plenty of modern day laughs to be had. Some of the show’s funniest moments, for example, center around the language barrier faced by Englishman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Edward Staudenmayer) as he tries to use American colloquialisms.

A strong cast also makes the lack of modernity a lot less noticeable. Franklin’s Crocker is charming and downright hilarious as he concocts one scheme after another to disguise himself—including making a beard from a dog’s fur and dressing in too-short sailor pants. Rachel York shines as his would-be love interest and lounge singer Reno Sweeney. York’s husky, sultry voice and her ability to effortlessly go from demanding dance to demanding song without missing a beat are impressive to say the least.

The show’s crowning moment is the incredible tap number performed at the end of act one. It is huge and goes on endlessly without one mistake in sight. That alone is worth the standing ovation received at Tuesday’s performance.

Durham Performing Arts Center presents ANYTHING GOES, starring Rachel York as Reno Sweeney at 7:30 p.m. March 21, 8 p.m. March 22, 2 and 8 p.m. March 23, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. March 24 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco District).

TICKETS: $42.50-$111.00 (including fees), except $17.50 Student Rush Tickets.


DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), , or

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-281-0587,, or

NOTE: DPAC will sell Student Rush Tickets for $17.50 (plus service fee if purchased online), located on Row P of the Balcony. For details, click



STUDY GUIDES: (Roundabout Theatre Company) and (Utah Shakespeare Festival).







Anything Goes (background): (Roundabout Theatre Company page) and (Wikipedia).

Cole Porter: (Cole Wide Web) and (Wikipedia).

Roundabout Theatre Company: (official website) and (Wikipedia).

The Tour: (official website).

Tour Cast and Creative Team: (official web page).

Kathleen Marshall: ( bio) and (Wikipedia)

Rachel York: (official website) and (Wikipedia).

Josh Franklin: (official website) and ( bio).

Fred Applegate: (official website) and (Wikipedia).


By Susie Potter

Susie Potter is a 2009 graduate of Meredith College where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina Statue University. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. For more information visit