The Zombies of Penzance (2018)

Book and Lyrics by W.S. Gilbert and Scott Miller
Music by Arthur Sullivan and John Gerdes
Orchestrations by John Gerdes

Sept. 27-Oct. 20, 2018
Marcelle Theater
Show Webpage
Production Photos

THE CAST
Frederic – Sean Michael
Mabel – Melissa Felps
Major-General Stanley – Zachary Allen Farmer
Zombie King – Dominic Dowdy-Windsor
Zombie Sam – Kent Coffel
Edith – Christina Rios
Isabel – Kimi Short
Kate – Lindsey Jones
More Daughters – Mara Bollini, Melanie Kozak, Sarah Porter
More Zombies – Robert Doyle, Matt Hill, Tim Kaniecki, Kyle Kelesoma

THE NEW LINE BAND
Conductor/Piano – Nicolas Valdez
French Horn – John Gerdes
Reeds – Lea Gerdes
Bassoon – Joseph Hendricks
Cello – Emily Trista Lane
Violin – Twinda Murry
Reeds – Kelly Austermann / Hope Walker

THE ARTISTIC STAFF
Directors – Scott Miller, Mike Dowdy-Windsor
Music Director – Nicolas Valdez
Stage Manager – Erin Goodenough
Scenic Designer – Rob Lippert
Costume Designer – Sarah Porter
Lighting Designer – Kenneth Zinkl
Sound Designer – Ryan Day
Props Master – Kimi Short
Carpentry and Scenic Artists – Richard Brown, Paul Troyke, Patrick Donnigan, Melanie Kozak, Kate Wilkerson, Nick Brunstein, Judy Brunstein, Grace Brunstein, Scenic Painters, Kathleen Dwyer, Tamar Crump, Karla Suazo, Gary Karasek
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg

REVIEWS
The Zombies of Penzance may be the funniest show that New Line Theatre has ever mounted – and, among its original offerings, the one with the brightest future. . . Truly, you have never seen anything like this. That’s not hyperbole. It’s a fact.” – Judy Newmark, All The World’s a Stage

“New Line Theatre’s The Zombies of Penzance adds a dark tinge of horror to Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic operetta of jolly pirates raiding the upper class, and the result is both a nightmare and a delight – let’s call it a ‘delightmare.’ The songs are ripping, the performances are outstanding and the philosophical questions raised by the undead’s increasing dominance are chilling.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“It’s amazing just how effective the changes are, while still paying tribute to the classic text. And Arthur Sullivan’s fantastic music is left unharmed, while meshing perfectly with the updated lyrics. . . The Zombies of Penzance is absolutely hilarious right from the start. It’s the juxtaposition of zombies singing opera (and quite beautifully, I might add), and the subtle changes in dialogue which make it impossible not to crack a smile. The reworked plot is so absurd, but in the best way possible. Because of how the adaptation is handled with such care, the show is able to tell a just as entertaining and compelling story as the original. And I can honestly say I enjoyed it even more. . . New Line Theatre has chosen the perfect musical for the Halloween season, after carefully incubating it with love for several years until it was ready to make its debut. The Zombies of Penzance will change the way you think about the music and characters forever, as its updated message of female empowerment and inclusivity is undeniably relevant today. The show is so much fun, and there is much to be appreciated by both fans of Gilbert and Sullivan’s original work and newcomers to this fresh new story.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“We are swept away in a wonderful whirlwind of apocalyptic delight that is both fresh and familiar. . . With smart dialogue, clever lyrics, and rapid-fire jabs at conservative Christianity, I dare you to keep up with the pace here. This show is wholly entertaining starting with the first overture notes from the New Line Band and continuing until the very last hysterical twist as the lights go dim at the end. This wild, wonderful adaptation closely mimics the original, only this version is darker, edgier, weirder, and paradoxically funnier. Plus, there are dancing zombies! . . . It’s charming. It’s cheeky. It’s a super fun pre-Halloween show for those looking to laugh, or for anyone who enjoys The Pirates of Penzance. Trust me on this one. Gilbert and Sullivan would be amused.” – Tanya Seale, BroadwayWorld

“This new version of The Pirates of Penzance, titled The Zombies of Penzance, comes beautifully alive. . . All of a sudden it’s a modern show, but with an incredibly lush musical sound we scarcely deserve, here in this modern, profane age. . . So thank God (and George Romero) for The Zombies of Penzance. . . I really feared it was going to be a one-joke show. But it’s deliciously rich, and a great tribute to the original—skewering the zombie genre and subtly reviving the bygone art of light operatic romance in the bargain. . . it’s undeniably the perfect marriage of creative minds, across more than a century. And with all those brilliant choristers on stage, you just can’t kill it.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“If you’re in the mood for theater that will make you laugh while still delivering the pleasure of a high quality score, you won’t want to miss New Line Theatre’s latest production. Reverently irreverent and witty, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Zombies of Penzance, or At Night Come the Flesh-Eaters is a rollicking good time of a zombie musical. . .New Line hits all the right notes with an abundance of sharp, insidious comedy and a touch of political commentary. The world premiere combines the efforts of W.S. Gilbert and Scott Miller on book and lyrics and Arthur Sullivan and John Gerdes on music, with orchestrations by Gerdes. The clever show is a fast-paced satire that’s at times adroitly bookish and at times total fanboy – of Gilbert and Sullivan… and Romero. George A. Romero that is, the acknowledged patriarch of the modern zombie canon. . . a delightfully fun, pointedly funny musical.” – Tina Farmer, KDHX

“It’s a rollicking musical filled with mirthful mayhem, just in time for Halloween. . . Miller and Dowdy-Windsor keep the show moving at a sprightly pace under their careful direction, pretty much guaranteeing a jolly good time for all. A pinch of Gilbert & Sullivan humor along with a sprinkling of Romero shivers blend well for a Halloween holiday treat.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Another triumph for New Line, a theater company with a disarming sense of fun. . . it’s a hilariously inspired joke, and just what theatergoers need in these often troubling times.” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“If you’re looking for an uproarious way to spend a couple of hours, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Zombies of Penzance or At Night Come the Flesh Eaters is a no-brainer!” – Jeff Ritter, Critical Blast

“Another example of the excellent casting and top-notch singing that’s come to be expected from New Line. It’s also a whole lot of fun to watch, but especially so if you like zombie stories, Gilbert and Sullivan, or both. . . In terms of humor and sheer musicality, it’s remarkable. Ultimately, though, this show is a witty, hilarious show that has a lot of fun with its concept and features a first-rate, enthusiastic cast. It’s not ‘traditional’ Gilbert and Sullivan, but that’s really the point. It’s another excellent, thought-provoking show from New Line.” – Michelle Kenyon, Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts

“Let the wackiness ensue with Miller’s smart book and quick-witted lyrics, using Gilbert’s template. Listen carefully for laugh-out-loud humor, utilizing contemporary snarkiness. . . These zombies might not terrify, after all, but they certainly provide a fun, frothy look in a lighter vein – at both vintage opera and the horror archetypes who proliferate this time of year. Barbara, they are coming, only armed with songs, dances and feelings. One can’t resist the pull of brainy and talented people who set out for a road not taken before.” – Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis Limelight

DIRECTOR'S NOTES
New Line Theatre has shocked the music and theatre worlds by discovering a controversial, long-lost first draft by the legendary British team of librettist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan, who together wrote 14 comic operas from 1871 to 1896.

One of the team's best known works, The Pirates of Penzance, originally debuted in New York in 1879, and was revived to great success in the early 1980s with Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, and Rex Smith. What we now know is that there was an earlier, stranger draft of the show, with most of the same characters but a somewhat different plot.

In Gilbert & Sullivan's never-before seen original draft, dated December 1878 and titled The Zombies of Penzance (with the unwieldy subtitle, At Night Come the Flesh Eaters), Major-General Stanley is a retired zombie hunter, who doesn't want his daughters marrying the dreaded Zombies of Penzance, for obvious reasons. According to documents found with the manuscripts, Gilbert and Sullivan finished work on The Zombies of Penzance in early 1879, but their producer Richard D’Oyly-Carte refused to produce it, calling it vulgar, impolitic, and unchristian, and in one particularly pointed letter, “an operatic abomination, an obscene foray into the darkest of the occult arts.” In a letter to his cousin, Gilbert expressed his deep disappointment, writing “I fear the living dead shall be the end of me yet.”

Until now, music scholars had been baffled by that reference.

After a battle that almost ended the partnership, the team reluctantly agreed to rewrite their show, and in December 1879, D'Oyly-Carte debuted the more conventional, revised show, The Pirates of Penzance. As he had agreed, Gilbert eliminated all references to zombism.

In 2013, New Line artistic director Scott Miller discovered the original manuscripts for The Zombies of Penzance in the second sub-basement of the Judson Memorial Church in New York, hidden beneath some moldy band parts from Rockabye Hamlet and Shogun the Musical, and Miller set about reconstructing the bizarre original show as its creators intended. Gilbert's living dead and their Zombie King now make their long-delayed world premiere. Miller has painstakingly reassembled these rediscovered materials into their original form, filling in the gaps with educated guesses based on other G&S shows and drafts. St. Louis composer and orchestrator John Gerdes has reconstructed Sullivan's music. Now, for the first time, audiences will be able to see and hear the comic, flesh-eating insanity Gilbert & Sullivan originally wrought.


Yeast Nation (2018)

Lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis
Music by Mark Hollmann Book by Greg Kotis
Orchestrations by John Gerdes
May 31-June 23, 2018
Marcelle Theater
Show Webpage
Production Photos

THE CAST
Jan-the-Unnamed – Sarah Gene Dowling
Jan-the-Elder – Zachary Allen Farmer
Jan-the Second-Oldest – Dominic Dowdy-Windsor
Jan-the-Sly – Grace Langford
Jan-the-Wise – Micheal Lowe
Jan-the-Sweet – Larissa White
Jan-the-Wretched – Keith Thompson
Jan-the-Famished – Jennelle Gilreath
Jan-the-Youngest – Colin Dowd
The New One – Lex Ronan
Yeast Chorus – Colin Dowd, Evan Fornachon,
Brittany Kohl Hester, Eleanor Humphrey,
Bradley Rohlf, Lex Ronan, Keith Thompson

THE NEW LINE BAND
Conductor/Piano – Sarah Nelson
Guitar – Aaron Brown
Bass/Guitar – Jake Heberlie
Percussion – Clancy Newell
Bass – Jake Stergos

THE ARTISTIC STAFF
Directors – Scott Miller, Mike Dowdy-Windsor
Music Director – Sarah Nelson
Stage Manager – Erin Goodenough
Scenic & Lighting Designer – Rob Lippert
Asst. Scenic Designer – Victoria Xu
Costume Designer – Sarah Porter
Sound Designer – Ryan Day
Props Master – Kimi Short
Scenic Artists – Richard Brown, Nick Brunstein, Jonathan Carl,
Patrick Donnigan, Gary Karasek, Paul Troyke
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg

REVIEWS
“New Line has long been home to weird shows – and this one, from the creators of Urinetown, might be the weirdest yet. Single-cell organisms, singing and dancing in the primordial ooze, more or less simultaneously discover love and dynastic tragedy. The voices are terrific, and the tie-dyed costumes are a hoot; who knew microbiology could be so entertaining?” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The production is absolutely spellbinding. . . For those who are familiar with New Line, Yeast Nation features an all-star cast of actors. . . Yeast Nation is probably considered odd by Broadway standards, and most likely why it never found a home there. But that is more the reason to love it, as it epitomizes the creativity we yearn for when discovering new art. The show is very smart, and surely benefits from a second viewing to truly appreciate all of the clever writing. Yet at the end of the day, the sights and sounds will have you captivated – all while having a lot of fun.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“It’s a big goofy summer musical, delightfully performed, full of silly pastiche song and dance, that’s somehow just a little too snarky and ironic for the Muny. . . Come for the nonsense, stay for the soaring musical artistry. . . You haven’t heard Motown and doo-wop spoofs till you’ve heard them in the swoon-worthy richness of a New Line show.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“New Line Theatre’s current production of the show is directed by the accomplished team of Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, and it moves from strength to strength. The cast is sharp, Rob Lippert’s set and lighting design are both attractive and effective (sitting in The Marcelle is like being inside a human-scale, high-dollar aquarium), and most importantly, I cared about some of these genderless, biologically identical yeasts and their plight. Personal investment is the ultimate goal of every show, but it’s a big ask when you’re talking about yeasts who all share one name.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“Is it New Line turned up to eleven, zany and shocking and well-acted with music and songs that are, dare I say it, infectious? Yes, indeed! Yeast Nation is easily the most bizarre musical you’ll see this year and perhaps for many years to come. . . and yet it completely works. . . There is an incredible amount of live theatre in St. Louis, and some companies are producing challenging and decidedly different fare. With Yeast Nation, Scott Miller, co-director Mike Dowdy-Windsor and the whole New Line crew remind everyone why they are the bad boys of musical theatre. Yeast Nation is the funniest cautionary tale you’re likely to ever see. The basic premise alone of yeast reminding humans that in many ways we aren’t as evolved as we think we are should make this a hot ticket.” – Jeff Ritter, Critical Blast

“New Line Theatre embraces the odd and evolving world of Yeast Nation, giving it vibrant color and effective performances that are delightfully engaging and thoroughly satisfying. You might learn a little science if you listen closely, but you’re sure to leave the theater with a smile, a melody in your head and a new appreciation for our distant neighbors those salt-eating yeasts.” – Tina Farmer, KDHX

“It’s something doubtless unlike anything most audience members have ever seen, albeit with its own quirky charm. . . Directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor and their performers bring out the zany silliness of the concept. . . New Line’s production has fun stretching out the show’s central joke, showing how far humanity has come and how far it may yet need to advance.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“In typical fashion, the New Liners bring us a wonderful production full of energy and singing and acting skills that are stellar. . . The usual outstanding ensemble does a wonderful job in backing up all this insanity. . . A nice way to while away a couple of hours with the enormous talent on stage, some good music and a few laughs along the way.” – Steve Allen, Stagedoor St. Louis

Yeast Nation is a fun, funny show with a theme that’s novel and a message that’s more than timeless. At New Line, it’s given a production that emphasizes the comedy, musicality, and most of all, the heart of the story. . . The musical elements, as is usual for New Line, are top-notch. . . this production is a lot of fun, and another example of the strength and ingenuity of New Line Theatre.” – Michelle Kenyon, Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts

DIRECTOR'S NOTES
New Line has produced 84 musicals over the last 27 years, but though we produce only musicals, we’ve worked in so many different genres of storytelling: comedy, drama, film noir, thriller, melodrama, fairy tale, allegory, fable, folk tale, science fiction, horror, sex farce, social satire, political satire, political drama, religious drama, expressionism, impressionism, absurdism, documentary, autobiography, confessional...

But it occurred to me a while back we had never produced a bio-historical musical. I don’t know how we missed that, but we had! Luckily for us, Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann, the mad geniuses behind Urinetown, have been nurturing and developing another wild, dark, comic show; and can you believe it, it’s a bio-historical musical!

I mean, what are the odds?

Little Shop of Horrors, Bat Boy, and Urinetown taught us the First Commandment of the neo musical comedy: the more seriously you take it, the higher the stakes, the funnier it gets. And with Yeast Nation, Kotis and Hollmann have put that concept on steroids. The central joke here – portraying single-celled yeasts as a human community, with a history, culture, government, alliances, palace intrigue, etc. – gets even funnier because the story is presented as straight-faced, classical tragedy, with obvious, intentional parallels to both Antigone and Macbeth.

Except they’re all yeasts.

What I love most about this writing is that the crazy dialogue and lyrics really do come from the point of view of yeasts! The metaphors are metaphors yeasts would use (if yeasts used metaphors). You can just picture “Stasis Is the Membrane That Keeps the Yeasts Together” embroidered on a yeast sampler hanging over a yeast mantelpiece. This show is only the latest proof of the old storyteller’s adage – the more specific the details, the more universal the connection.

And if it’s not already funny enough that the protagonists of Yeast Nation are literally single-celled yeasts, or that our musical is set three billion years ago on the floor of the ocean, or that these yeasts have emotions, community, and power struggles, or that the two central plot lines of our show parallel Antigone and Macbeth...

If all that isn’t enough... there’s yet another very funny element that will probably pass right by most of our audience. What may be the funniest aspect of this epic, twisted fable is that some of the weirdest details of our story are biologically accurate.

Truth… like biology… is stranger than fiction.

Anything Goes (2018)

music and lyrics by Cole Porter
book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse,
Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
March 1-24, 2018
Marcelle Theater
Show Webpage
Production Photos

THE CAST
Moonface Martin – Aaron Allen
Bonnie Letour – Sarah Gene Dowling
Hope Harcourt – Eileen Engel
Sir Evelyn Oakleigh – Zachary Allen Farmer
Billy Crocker – Evan Fornachon
Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt – Kimmie Kidd-Booker
Reno Sweeney – Sarah Porter
Elisha J. Whitney – Jeffrey M. Wright
Purity – Michelle Sauer
Chastity – Larissa White
Charity – Alyssa Wolf
Virtue – Sara Rae Womack
Bishop/Captain – Dominic Dowdy-Windsor
Reporter/Purser – Will Pendergast
Everybody Else – Jason Blackburn, Clayton Humburg

THE NEW LINE BAND
Conductor/Piano – Nicolas Valdez
Trumpet – Ron Foster
Second Keyboard – Joel Hackbarth
Percussion – Clancy Newell
Guitar/Banjo – Adam Rugo
Bass – Jake Stergos

THE ARTISTIC STAFF
Directors – Scott Miller, Mike Dowdy-Windsor
Music Director – Nicolas Valdez
Choreographers – Michelle Sauer, Sara Rae Womack
Stage Manager – Erin Goodenough
Scenic & Lighting Designer – Rob Lippert
Costume Designer – Colene Fornachon
Asst Costume Designer – Sarah Porter
Sound Designer – Ryan Day
Props Master – Kimi Short
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg
Scenic Artists – Grace Brunstein, Judy Brunstein,
Tamar Crump, Kathleen Dwyer, Mattilyn Johnson,
Gary Karasek, Marija Metiva
Scenic Crew – Richard Brown, Nick Brunstein, Melanie Kozak,
Patrick Donnigan, Paul Troyke, Kate Wilkerson

REVIEWS
“At New Line, Anything Goes looks funnier, sharper and smarter than you may remember. . . a spectacular treat for lovers of modern musical theater. . . .Anything Goes is not to be missed. A must for New Line fans and a great introduction to the troupe for newcomers, this spirited, in-your-face production of the Cole Porter classic feels as sharp as the needle on a new Victrola. . . The whole cast shines in this laugh-out-loud production, frequently punctuated by music (thanks to conductor Nicolas Valdez and a smart little band) and dance (thanks to choreographers Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack). From the evangelism parody 'Blow, Gabriel, Blow' to the hilarious encouragement Moonface offers Billy in 'Be Like the Bluebird,' New Line's Anything Goes provides non-stop entertainment without ever getting serious.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor have a gift for finding the most talented performers for their productions, and this show is no exception. The entire cast of Anything Goes is simply marvelous. . . The New Line Band sounds great as they honor Cole Porter with their performance of his best work. And the cast looks great as the dance to the terrific choreography of Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack. Everything about the show is extraordinary, and I couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face until long after the final number. New Line has yet another hit on their hands, as they introduce audiences to a version of Anything Goes that they are not likely to have seen before. And in my opinion, the very best version possible.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“Is Scott Miller finally mellowing out after all these years doing shows like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Celebration, and Jerry Springer the Opera? In a word, no—the New Line Theatre motto is alive and well. Think of a veteran baseball pitcher renowned for a nasty curve. Time and time again the hitter comes to the plate knowing that he’s going to see that hook. This time, Scott surprises the hitter with a fastball down the middle. . . As usual, New Line gets it right. . . this is Anything Goes as it’s meant to be performed and witnessed.” – Jeff Ritter, Critical Blast

“It's a strange choice for St. Louis' self-proclaimed 'bad boy of musical theater,' New Line Theatre. And yet, here we are, with directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor charging right up the gangplank of the S.S. Fantasy America. Working with the 1962 version of the script and incorporating Miller's standard deep research into the original show's origins, the boys have found an Anything Goes that's sharper, tarter and more satisfying than you'd think possible. In all honesty, I haven't laughed so much at any play in quite some time. And it's not just the zany comedy that gets you; it's the skewering of the super-rich, talentless celebrities, the British and indeed anything else that walks across the ship's deck.” – Paul Friswold, Riverfront Times

“With a smart, energized supporting cast deftly directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, New Line Theatre blends silly comedy, stylish music and effervescent performances in a winning combination which cleverly utilizes all hands on deck. . . Cole Porter knew how to write tunes with smart lyrics and snappy music, and New Line Theatre finds the heart in this 1962 version of the good-humored Anything Goes.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Those clever lyrics and dynamite book work perfectly for this always inventive local treasure that is New Line. . . As usual, Artistic Director Scott Miller, with co-director Mike Dowdy-Windsor, has put together a superb cast of actors/singers who carry off the powerful music with strict attention to the charm and wit of the dialogue. . . Miller and company have proven once again that they can make their own imprint on any musical -- even a revered classic like this one.” – Steve Allen, Stagedoor St. Louis

“A full moon illuminated the Friday night sky, and that moonglow permeated New Line Theatre’s production of Anything Goes, giving this timeless screwball comedy extra oomph. Two obvious takeaways from opening night: Never take this old warhorse for granted, and the frisky ensemble is having tons o’ fun pretending to set sail.. . . Kicky and kooky, this Anything Goes is a buoyant blast from the past that revitalizes one of the great, grand old musicals with charm, humor and style.” – Lynn Venhaus, St. Louis Limelight

“New Line’s staging of the show’s 1962 version, energetically directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, includes a song list jam-packed with Porter standards and a strong cast to make those numbers soar. Though the book’s greatest strength may be its role as a vehicle for the tunes, it does offer a keen depiction of an America where gangsters are worshipped like celebrities and evangelism is akin to show business. Not much has changed on that score. . . Between the unlikely pairings and the trashy fun, this low comedy classic is bound to leave you with a smile on your face.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“Directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor make sure that everyone has a good time in this very broad comedy whose social implications – lionizing people who are criminals, religious hypocrisy – are easily relatable in today’s world. . . it surely is a great deal of fun, especially if you have the least bit of romantic in you.” – Ann Pollock, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“They're doing Anything Goes? Really? How can they get an ocean liner and those big dance numbers on that little stage? Well, somehow New Line Theatre's Scott Miller and his team have done it, and done it superlatively well. . . Anything Goes is a triumph!” – Steve Callahan, KDHX

Anything Goes is Anything Goes no matter who produces it, right? Well, maybe not. New Line Theatre, known for its productions of edgier and lesser known shows, has taken this classic, 'fun' show and given it a presentation that’s in several ways different than what’s come to be expected as usual. There’s an emphasis on satire and less of an emphasis on dance than other productions I’ve seen, but still, it’s Anything Goes, and the overall effect is energetic, smart, and very very funny. . . Here at New Line, what we get to see is a sharp, witty, tuneful, and well-cast production that’s a delight from start to finish. . . . This is a slightly different Anything Goes than you may be used to, but that’s a good thing. It’s a fresh look at an older show, with a bright, memorable score of hits by a legendary composer, as well as delightful moments of broad comedy and some pointed satirical touches. And the cast is great, as well. It might not be the type of show one might expect from New Line, but the level of excellence is certainly on par with New Line’s best. It’s refreshing, bold, and lots of fun.” – Michelle Kenyon, Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts

“The New Line production exhibits the insight into the text and the context of the show that is par for the course when this company presents a classic. Directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor have cultivated a performance style that is well-suited for a show that originated in the 1930s.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“The good news: this show holds up reasonably well, thanks to smart, funny cast members who do well with comedy and singing; and thanks to those towering, songs from my grandfather's age. But those songs, by Cole Porter, speak a streamlined, universal language of love. And that makes this 1962 version of Anything Goes a huge departure from what we've come to expect from the New Line Theatre in the past: a great company that readily supplies a stunning 'deep dive' into rich, complex character; and the search for meaning in a world gone dangerously wrong. Even so, this famed musical is still an interesting bit of dash, and in some ways actually does fit the profile of this excellent local company, at The Marcelle Theatre. . . It's a show full of schemers and marks, so conceptually, it measures up nicely to past New Line shows like The Sweet Smell of Success, and Jerry Springer the Opera...” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

DIRECTOR'S NOTES
Why is "the bad boy of musical theatre" producing the 1934 musical comedy Anything Goes? “What are they gonna do to it?”

That's what I keep hearing.

Well, we're not doing anything to it, other than what we always do, take the show back to its roots, back to its creators' original intentions, to let it be again the pointed, adult satire it once was.

After all, could a show title ever describe our company better?

In 2006 I was writing a musical theatre history book, Strike Up the Band, and as I wrote about Anything Goes, I realized things I had never thought about before. Maybe it was because when I first got to know the show, I hadn't yet developed analytical skills, so I hadn't really looked beyond the surface. But writing about the show, I realized there are two central themes running through the story, two delicious pieces of social satire that are just as relevant today as they were in 1934.

We still turn religion into show business – and we've gotten so much better at it! And we still turn criminals into celebrities.

Anything Goes is totally a New Line show.

I’ve learned so much about this show. I learned that Reno was based on two real-life people, the infamous speakeasy hostess Texas Guinan (also a model for Velma Kelly in Chicago), and to a lesser extent, the first superstar evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson.

I learned from an actor who was playing Moonface and had done lots of research on the show, that Victor Moore originally played Mooney very mousy, jittery, with a high, nasally voice, and none of the Brooklyn accent we're used to from more recent productions. The joke is that he’s the opposite of every 1930s gangster cliché.

Also, it's important that Sir Evelyn is not gay, which is the usual default for unimaginative actors. Suggesting he's gay short-circuits a big part of the intricate plot. It's much funnier if he's obviously straight – and terribly goofy-charming. After all, we have to believe that hard-boiled Reno falls for him. (It occurs to me that Reno and Evelyn are sort of Harold Hill and Marian, but with the genders reversed...)

As relevant and as wickedly funny as ever, Anything Goes describes 2018 as much as 1934. Without changing much at all (other than the size of the cast), we can reveal things about this show that people don't usually see; and this show can reveal truths about our world today. All we have to do is trust this material and follow it wherever it takes us. This time it’s taken us on a hell of a crazy ride!