Saturday, June 15, 2024

“Anything Goes” Turns Sutton Foster into a Star (Again)


Isn’t Sutton Foster already a star? She’s got a Tony award for “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” after all, and several other nominations. But last night she just took off like a rocket in the new revival of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” A show buried in the basement of the Stephen Sondheim (formerly Henry Miller) Theater, this joyous and prescient 1930s musical has a terrific cast–Joel Grey, Colin Donnell, Jessica Walter— but it’s Foster who the whole show’s about.

As Reno Sweeney, the fast talking nightclub performer who’s seen it all but doesn’t have it all yet–Foster tap dances and sings up a storm thanks in no small part to director choreographer Kathleen Marshall’s top notch Tony Award certain work. (Kathleen’s brother, of course: Rob Marshall.)

Foster is just phenomenal. Wowed in the audience–before buses transported the audience over to the USS Intrepid–were Grey’s famous daughter Jennifer with husband actor Clark Gregg; Walter’s equally famed actor husband Ron Liebman, plus Zach Braff, Philip Bosco, Tovah Feldshuh, and Sutton’s boyfriend, Bobby Cannavale, who popped over to the Intrepid after his performance in “The Mother- With the Hat” wound up. I also spotted Veronica Hamel (Jack’s mom on “Lost” but better known from “Hill Street Blues”), plus the amazing Blair Brown, who told me she’s not only starring in the cult TV hit “Fringe” but will be directing an episode this season as well. And “Avatar” heavy Stephen Lang, who enchanted Cindy Adams–she’d never heard of him and she’s never seen “Avatar.”

Can you imagine a hit show with songs like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “All Through the Night” and “Friendship” plus the show stopping title number and “Blow Gabriel Blow”? Marshall has reworked everything, adding sizzling tap dance numbers and fleshing out the show so that you never want to leave the cruise ship bearing these passengers from New York. And Joel Grey is not to be missed in his second act showcase–“Be Like the Blue Bird.” There’s nothing like watching a Broadway legend make magic!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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