Last night we and four friends went to the Arizona Broadway Theatre for a performance of Anything Goes, Cole Porter’s music from the 1934 production. Again, wonderful food, great cast, elaborate set design. The story is 1934ish dumb, about a strange set of characters aboard a ship sailing from New York to England: a gangster, a wealthy debutante and her mother, a nightclub singer, and a wealthy New York businessman and his stowaway assistant. Hope is the debutante, the stowaway Billy’s long-lost love. Unfortunately, she is now engaged to a wealthy Englishman, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. After a series of comedic happenings, Billy manages to win back Hope. Meanwhile, Billy’s friend, Reno, manages to seduce and win Lord Evelyn. All this happens while Moonface Martin attempts to escape the law and Hope’s mother strives to maintain her social status.
The set had to cost a fortune, which attests to the financial success of the ABT in its fifth season. We keep rooting for the theatre to succeed because we love to be able to drive only twenty minutes to a great evening out. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s well worth it. We’ve never had a bad meal there, and the shows just keep getting better and better, more and more professionally done. Two numbers stand out: the conclusion of Act One, with the cast doing a frenetic tap as they all sing “Anything Goes”; and another lengthy tap number along with “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” Both numbers featured Reno, the nightclub singer, blowing the audience away with her especially big voice, reminiscent of Ethyl Merman. In addition to the two songs mentioned above, you’ll also hear such oldies as “I Get a Kick out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Easy to Love,” “It’s De-lovely,” and “All Through the Night.” If you’ve never been to the ABT and want a night out, with a meal as fine as anywhere in the Valley and a show that’s almost as good as any Broadway performance, try the Arizona Broadway Theatre. You won’t regret it. Shows run about five weeks. The next four up this season are A Christmas Carol, Gypsy, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera.