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Oh-So-Easy to Love

September 14, 2011

Of course, I had to close out my trip with joy, since Follies is never a good note to end on if you have any sense of the deep comedy of the world. Anything Goes is pure comedy—in the Shakespearean sense—and Wodehousian through and through. Cole Porter’s deliberate misuse of rhyme can sometimes be bothersome, but the charm of both his music and the cast easily overcomes such a tiny obstacle.

This is a Broadway show the way everyone thinks of Broadway shows: big sets, delightful costumes, a brassy belter (two-time Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster), a soprano ingénue (Laura Osnes), ginormous production numbers throughout, and all the boys get their respective girls in the end. Oh, and a star. That star is Sutton Foster, possibly the most brilliant star to come along since Patti LuPone. During large production numbers in most musicals, I usually end up watching the the often more-skilled ensemble, but not here. Sutton Foster is a triple threat to beat all triple threats. Not only is she a better dancer than most of the ensemble (who are extraordinary skilled in their own right), but her sheer star power won’t allow you to look away. This is all perfectly fantastic because there’s nothing I like better than watching someone tap their toes off for nearly ten whole minutes before finishing with the long, belted conclusion of a song and seemingly without an ounce effort. That doesn’t even account for “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” where the naturally-goofy Sutton brings out the sexy and has the men of the ensemble literally on their knees, begging for her favorable glance.

As for everyone else, Joel Grey as the loveable gangster, Moonface Martin, is the cutest little 79-year-old you ever did see and gives all his younger cohorts a run for their money. Laura Osnes may have won her way onto Broadway via a reality show several years ago, but it’s pure talent and irresistible cuteness that have helped her earn consistent work on the Great White Way. That, and the fact that she can easily hit the kind of beautiful high C that puts Kristin Chenoweth to shame. If you were wondering where Rob Ashford’s choreography Tony Award ran off to (and deservedly so), look no further than Kathleen Marshell’s work on this show. From tap to tango to foxtrot and jazz, she had her work cut our for her and delighted in every way.

I love seeing shows like this from the mezzanine (which I did) because big dance numbers tend to look best from up there, but the actors in this show tend to play to the rear orchestra for the most part, so when you go—and you need to go—be sure to see it from there if you can.

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