Summer Production 2008
Anything Goes - Basic Information
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Anything Goes

  Background of the Show
  Synopsis of the Show
  List of Characters
  Orchestra Instrumentation
  List of Scenes
  List of Musical Numbers

Original Cast Recording

1962 Off-Broadway Cast Recording
Recommended Recording: Amazon Link
Eileen Rodgers, Mickey Deems, Hal Linden, Barbara Lang

Anything Goes Logo


Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter - Book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse. (1962 Revival)

The original produciton of Anything Goes opened on November 21, 1934 on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre running for 420 performances with Ethel Merman starring as Reno Sweeney.

The first London production of Anything Goes, opened in 1935, at The Palace Theatre and ran for 261 performances. The number The Gypsy In Me was still performed in it’s original form, by Hope and the girls and the number Buddy Beware was omitted.

An Off-Broadway revival of Anything Goes opened on May 15, 1962 at the Orpheum Theatre. It starred Hal Linden as Billy Crocker and Eileen Rodgers as Reno Sweeney. The stage script was revised and incorporated several of the changes from the movie versions. The minor character named Erma was expanded and her name changed to Bonnie. This revival also added several songs from other Porter shows that came after the original production of Anything Goes. From the 1930 musical, The New Yorkers, came the song "Take Me Back to Manhattan," from the 1934 musical, Red Hot and Blue, came the song "It's De-Lovely," from the 1939 musical, DuBarry Was a Lady, came the song "Friendship," and from the 1929 musical, Paris, came the song "Let's Misbehave".

In October 19, 1987, a major revival of Anything Goes opened on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, with Patti Lupone in the role of Reno Sweeney and ran for 784 perfomances. The book was revised by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. This production opened in London at The Prince Edward Theatre the following year.

The Grange Park Opera near Alresford in Hampshire opened a production of Anything Goes in July of 2002 which may have been the most complete version ever staged. The production contained much of the original Lindsay and Crouse book and many of the later additions.

Anything Goes was made into a film musical in 1936. The book and score were changed and only two of the original songs were included. Additional music was included by Hoagy Carmichael among others. The movie starred Bing Crosby as Billy Crocker and Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, Ida Lupino as Hope Harcourtm Arthur Treacher as Evelyn Oakleigh, and Charlie Ruggles as Moonface Mullins. With the release of the 1956 film version of the musical, this movie was retitled Tops Is The Limit.

A second movie version was filmed in 1956 and, once again, starred Bing Crosby along with Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Jeanmarie, and Phil Harris. Additional songs for this movie were added by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. The book was drastically changed for this movie and revolved around Bing Crosby offering Jeanmarie the lead in their latest Broadway show while Donald O'Connor is promising Mitzi Gaynor the same lead in the same show. Both women show up for the same part and the fun begins.

A television version was made in 1954 starring Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, Frank Sinatra as Harry Dane (the Billy Crocker character) and Bert Lahr as Moonface Martin. This version had a slightly different plot and contained more of the original score than the movie version along with songs from other Cole Porter shows that starred Ethel Merman.

- 1962 Revival
Outer Critics Circle Awards-Best Revival

- 1987 Revival
Outer Critics Circle Awards-Best Revival

Tony Awards

Reproduction (Play or Musical) WINNER
Best Choreography WINNER
Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Bill McCutcheon) WINNER
Best Actor in a Musical (nominee)
Best Actress in a Musical (nominee)
Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Anthony Heald) (nominee)
Best Scenic Design (nominee)
Best Costume Design (nominee)
Best Lighting Design (nominee)
Best Direction of a Musical (nominee)

Drama Desk Awards

Outstanding Revival WINNER
Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Patti LuPone) WINNER
Outstanding Choreography WINNER
Outstanding Actor in a Musical (nominee)
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (McCutcheon, Heald) (nominees)
Outstanding Director of a Musical (nominee)
Outstanding Orchestration (nominee)
Outstanding Costume Design (nominee)
Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)
Outstanding Set Design (nominee)

Cole Porter was born on June 9, 1891 in Peru, Indiana. His father was a pharmacist and his mother was from a wealthy family. His mother started his musical training at an early age, with violin lessons at 6 and piano at 8. He was also writing music at a young age with his first operetta when he was 10. This was done with with help from his mother. His grandfather wanted Cole to become a lawyer, and saw that he attended Worcester Academy and then Yale University beginning in 1909. He became a member of the famous secret society, Scroll and Key at Yale. He spent a year at Harvard Law School in 1913 where he decided to concentrate on music and transferred to Harvard's School of Music.

In 1916, Porter's first Broadway production, See America First, was staged. Based on the book by Lawrason Riggs, the show was a flop and closed after two weeks. After the failure, he moved to a luxury apartment Paris. He would often tell people that he had joined the French Foreign Legion, but he really worked for the Duryea Relief Fund. He lead a playboy lifestyle and in 1918, he met Linda Lee Thomas. She was a Kentucky-born divorcée several years older than Porter and once dubbed the most beautiful woman in the world. They were married in 1919.

Although Porter was homosexual, it was not uncommon for wealthy gay men to marry wealthy socialite women at that time. They both got what they wanted from the relationship. Linda was the glamorous wife of a world famous songwriter, and Cole always had a beautiful woman on his arm when it was convenient.

In the late 1920s, Porter returned to New York and began writing some of his most popular songs, including “Night and Day,” “You're the Top,” “Begin the Beguine” and “Love for Sale.” The next decade was his most productive, working with the biggest stars of the day and writing scores for hits that include Anything Goes, Gay Divorce, and Born To Dance. After moving to Hollywood in the early 1930s, Porter and his wife separated. Porter's sexuality became more and more open during this time and many of his affairs became public knowledge. The children of his longtime friend Ray Kelly still receive half of Porter's royalties copyrights.

In 1937, Porter crushed his legs in a riding accident. Although Porter underwent more than forty surgeries on his legs that left him in constant pain, he continued to write hit musicals. Can Can, Silk Stockings and, what many consider to be his finest work, Kiss Me, Kate. He was often in severe depression from the pain and underwent the latest treatment for depression, electric shock therapy, which at that time would be considered barbaric by today's standards. He died in Santa Monica on October 15, 1964 and was interred in the Mount Hope Cemetery, Peru, Indiana.

In 1946, Cole Porter's life was made into the movie Night and Day starring Cary Grant and Alexis Smith and directed by Michael Curtiz. His life was again put to celluloid in the 2004 movie. De-Lovely, starring Kevin Kline as Porter and Ashley Judd as Linda. Cole Porter left a legacy of sophisticated lyrics, clever rhymes, and complex forms.


Before reading the synopsis of Anything Goes, it is critical to understand a bit about the colorful and often confusing history of this show. Producer Vinton Freedley came up with the idea for the show as he was living on a boat at the time. He left the US to avoid his debts and used a boat as his residence. Freedley picked Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse to write the book, and Ethel Merman to star in the production. The original plot was a comedy about a mad bomber running loose on an ocean liner. Freedley was not happy with the script and found it difficult to make changes when Bolton and Wodehouse sailed for Europe. In an odd turn of events, as rehearsals began, the passenger ship, the SS Morro Castle, sailing from Havana to New York on September 8, 1934, caught fire and burned. The disaster killed a total of 137 passengers and crew members before beaching herself near Asbury Park, New Jersey. This was the excuse that Freedley needed to completely revamp the show. He maintained that the tragedy made the plot of the show seem insensitve and that this would not work well with public opinion. As a result, the book was almost entirely recreated by the show's director, Howard Lindsay and press agent, Russell Crouse (who became lifelong writing partners as a result). They revised the script, finishing the last scene on the train to Boston, where the show was to open before hitting Broadway. The show opened on November 21, 1934, about two and a half months after the SS Morro Castle disaster.

There is a legend behind the name of the show and the title song. It is said that at a late night production meeting where the show was being reworked, one of the overly-tired production team members said in frustration "And just how in the hell are we going to end the first act?!" "At this point," responded one of the producers, "anything goes!!"

The show became a big hit and the confusion really begins. Two years later, the 1936 film version of Anything Goes hit the theatres and held little resemblance to the stage production. The book and score were dramaticaly changed with only two of the original songs included. Additional songs were included by Hoagy Carmichael and other composers. 18 years later in 1954, the television version changed the plot again and changed the songs again to include more of the original score than the movie version along with songs from other Cole Porter shows. The second movie version was filmed in 1956 and the book was drastically changed once more with additional songs by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. The second film named Anything Goes forced the first film version (1936) to be renamed Tops Is The Limit. The Off-Broadway revival in 1962 (the version that we will perform) revised the script yet again, incorporating several of the changes from the movie versions. The 1987 revival changed the show one more time, keeping many of the many changes made through the years, but reorchestrating the score and adding some of the songs that had been omitted in earlier shows.

Confused yet? Well, this version of Anything Goes is the 1962 revival version and it may or may not have any similarity to any of the versions that you have seen, on either stage or screen. It will, however, have many of the great songs that prove that Cole Porter is a true genius of the Broadway musical.

Billy Crocker, a young love-sick Wall Street broker, stows away on the S.S. American, in hopes of winning the heart of his beloved Hope Harcourt. His boss, Yale graduate Elisha J. Whitney, is also on board. He plans to relax before making an important business deal in England. Hope is on her way to England to be married to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, a stuffy, hapless British nobleman. Also on the boat are "Moonface" Martin, a second-rate gangster on the lam labeled "Public Enemy 13," and his friend Bonnie; the two have disguised themselves as a minister and a missionary, respectively, after stranding the ship's real chaplain back at the port. They also, mistakenly, left behind their leader, "Snake Eyes" Johnson, Public Enemy 1.

On board, Crocker runs into his friend, Reno Sweeney, an evangelizing nightclub singer, who resolves to help Billy win over Hope, to the dismay of Hope's mother, Mrs. Harcourt (though she doesn't know about the original plan), who insists she marry Evelyn. Billy simultaneously learns the true identities of Moonface and Bonnie, and in exchange for his silence, they join the plot to break up Hope and Evelyn. However, as Billy doesn't have a ticket or passport, Bonnie and Moonface let him have Snake Eyes Johnson's, without telling him to whom it belongs. But the ships crew figure out that Public Enemy number 1 is on board, and Billy has to take on a number of hilarious disguises to hide from them--which at first makes Hope angry with him. As the show progresses, Hope, Evelyn, Billy, Reno, Elisha, Mrs. Harcourt, Bonnie, and Moonface all end up in a variety of compromising positions with members of the opposite sex, with Reno seducing Evelyn Oakleigh, originally just to get seen by Hope or Mrs. Harcourt so they would reject him, but eventually she wins him over for real and they even get married. Hope and Billy also get married, Mrs. Harcourt (divorced) and Mr. Whitney get married, and Moonface Martin receives a notice on board that the government considers him "harmless."

DANCE NOTE: - Yes means that this is a role for someone with some experience in dance (often with classical/jazz/tap dance training). Many of these roles are intended to be featured dancers.
- Some means that there the role requires some dancing, but not necessarily a trained dancer. The ability to learn simple dance steps is neeeded.
- No means no dance ability is necessary.
AGE NOTE: The age range is a general guide to the approximate age of each character. Some characters can be played older or younger depending upon the director's vision. Also, your age is less important than your ability to portray a character of that age. The plus sign (+) next to an age indicates that there is no specific upper limit on age for that role.)
Voice Type (Range)
Age Range
Reno Sweeney - Evangelist turned nightclub singer
Alto - g-e♭2


Billie Crocker - assistant to Elisha, love-struck would-be suitor to Hope
Tenor - b-g2
Hope Harcourt - American debutante and the object of Billy's affection, engaged to Sir Evelyn
Alto - a-e♭2
Moonface Martin - a second-rate gangster, "Public Enemy Number 13"
Tenor - b♭-g♭2
Bonnie Letour - Moll, traveling with Moonface
Soprano - c1-g♭2
Elisha J. Whitney - Ivy league Wall Street banker, Billy's boss and a lush
Baritone - c1-d2

Sir Evelyn Oakleigh - Hope's wealthy English fiancee

Tenor - c-g2
Ching - Chinese convert and reformed gambler, with Reverend Dobson
Ling - Chinese convert and reformed gambler, with Reverend Dobson
Mrs. (Evangeline) Wadsworth T. Harcourt - Hope's mother and society matron
Bishop Henry T. Dobson -- A Missionary
Steward - Employee of the Ocean Liner "America"
Reporter (Charlie) - For the Globe American
Cameraman - For the Globe American
Chastity - Backup singer in Reno's act
Purity - Backup singer in Reno's act
Charity - Backup singer in Reno's act
Virtue - Backup singer in Reno's act
Girls - Passengers
Sailors -Ship's crew

Purser - Employee of the Ocean Liner "America"

Captain - Skipper of the Ocean Liner "America"
Male Quartet
Male Chorus
Mixed Chorus


Full Orchestration

Violins I & II Reed 1 - Flute, Clarinet, Alto Sax Timpani (3 Drums)
Violas Reed 2 - Flute, Clarinet, Alto Sax Bells (Glockenspiel)
Cellos Reed 3 - Oboe, Clarinet, Tenor Sax Xylophone

Reed 4 - Bass Clarinet, Bari Sax,                Bassoon

Ship's Bell
Guitar & Banjo Trumpets I Gong
Keyboard Trumpets II Bongo Drums
  Trumpets III Triangle
  Trombone Temple Blocks
    Wood Blocks (several)
    Suspended Cymbal
    Trap Drums (Bass, Snare, Tom Toms, Floor Tom, Hi-Hat, Ride Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, with Brushes, Sticks & mallets)



SETTING: On the Ocean Liner "American"

Scene 1 Afterdeck of the ship
Scene 2 On the ship's deck that evening
Scene 3 Two cabins on the "A" deck
Scene 4 On the ship's deck
Scene 5 On the ship's deck
Scene 6 Evelyn's stateroom
Scene 7 On the ship's deck
Scene 8 On the Afterdeck


Scene 1 Ship's lounge
Scene 2 The Brig
Scene 3 On the ship's deck


Overture Orchestra
You're The Top Reno Sweeney & Billy Crocker
Bon Voyage Sailors & Passengers - SATB Chorus
It's De-lovely Billy Crocker, Hope Harcourt & SATB Chorus
Heaven Hop Bonnie and Girls
Friendship Reno Sweeney, Billy Crocker & Moonface Martin
I Get A Kick Out Of You Reno Sweeney
Anything Goes Reno Sweeney & SATB Chorus

Entr'acte Orchestra
Public Enemy Number One SATB Chorus
Let's Step Out Bonnie & SATB Chorus
Let's Misbehave Reno Sweeney & Sir Evelyn Oakleigh
Blow, Gabriel, Blow Reno Sweeney & SATB Chorus
All Through The Night Billy Crocker, Hope Harcourt & Male Quartet
Be Like The Bluebird Moonface Martin
Take Me Back To Manhattan Reno Sweeney & Angels
Wedding Music Orchestra
Finale Bonnie, Moonface Martin, Hope Harcourt, Elisha Whitney, Billy Crocker, Evelyn Oakleigh, Reno Sweeney, & SATB Chorus
Bows & Exit Music Orchestra

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