'Anything Goes' sets sail at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre

'Anything Goes' sets sail at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre

July 13th, 2012 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Art

IF YOU GO

What: "Anything Goes."

When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday, July 20-21, July 27-28; 7 p.m. Thursday and July 26; 2:30 p.m. July 22 and July 29.

Where: MainStage, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

Admission: $10-$25 ($30 opening night).

Phone: 267-8534.

Website: www.TheatreCentre.com.

No matter what version of "Anything Goes" is staged, what's unchangeable are the unmistakable Cole Porter songs.

The singing, tapping, high-spirited version of the 1934 Broadway musical that opens tonight - and closes the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's MainStage season - happens to be based on the 1987 Broadway revival.

"I always liked the 1962 [Broadway] version," said director George Quick, "but this version is fuller, and the arrangements are really great. It's solid. It's great music."

The musical features songs such as "Anything Goes," "You're the Top," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."

Quick said the musical was chosen because of its 2011 revival on Broadway, which is closer to the 1987 version than the 1962 version.

"It's sort of more in the public mind," he said.

The basic story, which has remained relatively static through the years, focuses on the various antics aboard the ocean liner S.S. American bound from New York to London. Among the passengers are stowaway Billy Crocker, who is in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Also aboard are nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy No. 13 Moonface Martin, who aid Billy in his quest to win Hope.

Quick said "Anything Goes" has dancing, singing, romance and Marx Brothers-type antics, elements similar to many of the original 1930s musicals.

"It's escapism," he said, "[centering] on problems of the very wealthy."

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre, then called the Chattanooga Little Theatre, staged the 1962 version of the musical some 25 years ago.

"What fun is that a lot of people who previously saw a different version," said Quick, "will get to see this one."

The current CTC version does not include songs from the 1962 version such as "Heaven Hop," "Let's Step Out," "Let's Behave" and "Take Me Back to Manhattan" but contains songs from the original version - revived in 1987 and 2011 - such as "You'd Be So Easy To Love," "Sailor's Shanty," "Gypsy in Me" and "Buddie Beware."

"Anything Goes," according to Quick, is and has always been dependent on good tap dancers, given that the first act ends with the title song, a big tap number.

The CTC show incorporates 10 tap dancers, who were instructed by Lindsay Fussell - who also choreographed the 1980s version - to produce a "really cool" Act I finale, Quick said.

Also returning from the previous version is former Little Theatre director of education Rodney Van Valkenburg, who reprises his role of Moonface Martin.

Accentuating the musical, Quick said, is a six-piece live band of piano, percussion, bass, trumpet, clarinet and trombone.