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Emerson Colonial Theatre Official Blog

Anything Goes

Posted on November 7, 2023

This week in 1934, a Broadway classic was born as Anything Goes began its pre-Broadway engagement at the Colonial Theatre.

Featuring music and lyrics by Cole Porter with a book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodenhouse, the show was a hit with audiences and critics alike and starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, William Gaxton as Billy Crocker, and Victor Moore as Reverend Dr. Moon.

Boston audiences were among the very first to get to hear the now-classics “You’re the Top”, “I Get a Kick out of You”, "Blow, Gabriel Blow," and the title song “Anything Goes.” The Boston Post hailed it as "a great musical comedy which danced and sang and gagged its way to glory" and described Porter's music and lyrics as "rare and flawless."

The show went on to play 420 performances on Broadway and continued to find success years later with two acclaimed revivals. While the original production pre-dated the Tony Awards, the later revivals garnered a total of 19 Tony Award nominations and 6 Tony Awards.

Shortly after the show made its debut on stage, the story was adapted to the big screen in 1936.

Included in the video are production photos and promotional shots from the original Broadway production. The 16mm footage featured was shot by amateur filmmaker Ray Knight during the show's Broadway run.