November 21 marks the 85th anniversary of the original production of Anything Goes, the classic Cole Porter musical that follows an evangelist-turned-nightclub singer, a lovelorn stockbroker wooing a debutante, the debutante's British lord fiancé, and a gangster disguised as a minister, all of whom turn up on a luxury cruise liner to sing, dance, and romance. To celebrate, we're taking a look back at the musical's three Broadway productions!
Anything Goes originally premiered on November 21, 1935, at the Alvin Theatre. The production, directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Robert Alton, starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney. William Gaxton, Bettina Hall, Victor Moore, Leslie Barrie, May Abbey, Vera Dunn, and Paul Everton rounded out the cast. It ran for 420 performances, making it the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s—a notable feat, given the difficulty posed to the Broadway industry by the effects of the Great Depression.
The musical was revived by director Jerry Zaks at Lincoln Center Theater in 1987, this time with Tony winner Patti LuPone as Reno Sweeney (her performance earned her a Tony nomination). The production also featured Howard McGillin, Bill McCutcheon, and Anthony Heald, with Leslie Uggams and Linda Hart later stepping into the role of Reno. The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and ran for 784 performances.
The most recent Broadway revival came in 2011, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, the production starred Sutton Foster (whose performance earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical), Joel Grey, Laura Osnes, Jessica Ealter, and Colin Donnell. Tony winner Stephanie J. Block later took over the role for Sutton Foster, and the production was awarded the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. It closed July 8, 2012, after 521 regular performances, 32 previews, and three extensions.
Flip through photos from all three productions below: