The Roundabout Theatre Company's 2011 Broadway revival of "Anything Goes" offers a fresh take on Cole Porter's 1934 hit musical while keeping close to the freewheeling spirit of the original. The production was a huge success, winning Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, going to Sutton Foster as the singing evangelist Reno Sweeney. The album debuted at the top of Billboard's Cast Album Chart and offers ample evidence that the enthusiasm the revival has generated is fully deserved. The spotlight is on Foster, who brings considerable glamour to a role created by Ethel Merman. She skillfully manages the trick of conveying the character's essential sweetness and vulnerability while still channeling some of Merman's humor and brassy confidence. She's immensely appealing in songs like "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," and "Anything Goes," and she cuts loose in "Blow, Gabriel, Blow." The supporting cast is consistently strong, which is essential in an ensemble piece like this that's packed with eccentric, high-profile characters. As Billy Crocker, the guy who finally gets his girl, Colin Donnell has an appealing charm, and he and Laura Osnes as Hope Harcourt generate some heat in duets like "Easy to Love" (a song that had been cut from the original production), "It's De-Lovely," and "All Through the Night." Osnes' poignant solo, "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye," is one of the album's highlights. Joel Grey shines in the crucial but relatively small role of Moonface Martin. This production, which uses a book updated by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman for a 1987 revival, beefs up the role and gives Grey the chance to sing "Friendship" (a song lifted from Porter's show "Dubarry Was a Lady") with Foster, as well as his standard solo, "Be Like the Bluebird." (One of the special attractions of this album is the inclusion of several of Porter's songs, including "The Crew Song," "It's De-Lovely," and "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye," that fit beautifully into the show and effectively move the story line along.) There's not a weak link among the smaller parts, all of which are taken by singing actors who come across with plenty of character and musical polish. Under the musical supervision of Rob Fisher, conductor James Lowe and the pit orchestra deliver energetic, idiomatic performances, and the chorus sings with high spirits. Ghostlight's sound is clean and natural. The soloists are nicely spotlighted but the chorus sometimes sounds a little distant. This fun, stylish revival ought to be of strong interest to any fans of American musical comedy.
Stephen Eddins, Rovi