Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
Anything Goes
Event Calendar


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Original Book by Guy Bolton & P. G. Wodehouse and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse
New Book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman
Directed by Molly Smith
Choreography by Parker Esse
Music Direction by Paul Sportelli

November 2 — December 23, 2018
Fichandler Stage

The SS American has set sail from NY to London. Aboard, the lovelorn Billy has stowed away on a mission to stop the marriage of his mystery muse, countess Hope Harcourt, to the millionaire Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Now, it is up to Billy with the help of showgirls, sailors, and public enemy #13, to find, woo and win back his true love. Unlikely alliances arise as mischief and mayhem ensue in this madcap musical by beloved composer and Tony Award winner Cole Porter. It’s the perfect night out at the theater — contagiously fun and pure “musical comedy joy!” (New York Times)


Coming soon.


COLE PORTER (Music & Lyrics) was born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891. He graduated from Yale, where his football songs are still popular. After the failure of his first Broadway show, he lived in Europe, where he married legendary beauty Linda Lee Thomas. Returning to New York in the late 1920s he gained renown for many great songs, including “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine,” “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” His 1930s were highlighted by such Broadway offerings as Anything Goes, Gay Divorce and Jubilee. A crippling riding accident in 1937 left him in constant pain, yet he continued to write memorable scores, among them Can-Can, Silk Stockings and his masterpiece, Kiss Me, Kate. He died in 1964.

GUY BOLTON and P.G. WODEHOUSE (Original Book) were both born in England. They were introduced by Jerome Kern, and he suggested they all work together. They did, tirelessly, and in the beginning of their collaboration wrote nearly one show per month—the famed Princess Theatre musicals. Bolton and Wodehouse went on to write more than 20 musicals together. Usually, they collaborated on the book, and Wodehouse wrote the lyrics. Both lived into their 90s, and both, together and individually, were astoundingly prolific. Bolton, with one collaborator or another, or on his own, had a hand in well over 100 musicals and straight plays as well as numerous film scripts and novels. Wodehouse wrote 97 books—more notably the ‘Jeeves” novels—and countless short stories, articles, essays and films, and in 1975 was knighted side by side with Carlie Chaplin. In addition to Anything Goes, their work together includes Have a Heart; Oh! Boy; Leave It to Jane; Oh, Lady! Lady!!; Sitting Pretty; Oh, Kay! and Rosalie. They remained friends and neighbors (in Remsenburg, NY) throughout their final days.

HOWARD LINDSAY and RUSSEL CROUSE (Co-Authors of the Original Book) The Lindsay and Crouse partnership stands today as the longest collaboration of any writers in theatrical history, lasting for more than 28 years. They first joined forces in 1934, when the producer Vinton Freedley brought them together to rewrite the libretto for Anything Goes (which Lindsay directed). Two years later, they wrote another Cole Porter show, Red, Hot and Blue. Their first straight play, Life With Father, opening in 1939 and holds the record for the longest running play on Broadway, at 3,224 performances. Lindsay and his wife Dorothy Stickney, creates the roles of Clarence and Vinnie Day, performing them for five years. Among other plays, Lindsay and Crouse also wrote The Sound of Music (score by Rodger and Hammerstein); the Pulitzer Prize-winning State of the Union; Call Me Madame and Mr. President (scores by Irving Berlin); The Prescott Proposals and The Great Sebastians. They produced The Hasty Heart, Detective Story and Arsenic and Old Lace. Howard Lindsay (1889-1968) was an actor, stage manager, director and playwright before teaming up with Crouse. Russel Crouse (1893-1966) was a newspaperman, a press agent for the Theatre Guild, the author of several books and a librettist before partnering with Lindsay. He later produced, in collaboration with his wife, Anna Erskine Crouse, a son, the writer Timothy Crouse, and a daughter, the actress Lindsay Crouse.

MOLLY SMITH (Director) has served as Artistic Director since 1998. Her more than 30 directing credits at Arena Stage include The Originalist, Fiddler on the Roof, Camp David, Carousel, Mother Courage and Her Children, Oklahoma!, A Moon for the Misbegotten, My Fair Lady, The Great White Hope, The Music Man, Legacy of Light, The Women of Brewster Place, Cabaret, South Pacific, All My Sons and How I Learned to Drive. Her directorial work has also been seen at Canada’s Shaw Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, The Old Globe, Asolo Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Trinity Repertory, Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, Montreal’s Centaur Theatre and Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998. Molly has been a leader in new play development for over 30 years. She is a great believer in first, second and third productions of new work and has championed projects including Dear Evan Hansen; Next to Normal; Passion Play, a cycle; and How I Learned to Drive. She has worked alongside playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Wendy Wasserstein, Lawrence Wright, Karen Zacarías, John Murrell, Eric Coble, Charles Randolph-Wright and many others. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage, focusing on the architecture and creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. During her time with the company, Arena Stage has workshopped more than 100 productions, produced 39 world premieres, staged numerous second and third productions and been an important part of nurturing nine projects that went on to have a life on Broadway. In 2014, Molly made her Broadway debut directing The Velocity of Autumn, following its critically acclaimed run at Arena Stage. She was awarded honorary doctorates from American University and Towson University. This summer, she will direct The Originalist Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters.

PARKER ESSE (Choreographer) is a six-time Helen Hayes Best Choreography nominee and recipient for Arena Stage’s Oklahoma! and The Pajama Game. Director/choreographer credits include Crazy for You and West Side Story (Finger Lakes Music Theatre Festival). Choreographer credits include A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair (Encores!); The Pajama Game, Carousel, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, Smokey Joe’s Café, The Music Man and The Light in the Piazza (Arena Stage); A Wonderful Life, Fiddler on the Roof, The Most Happy Fella and Carousel (Goodspeed); Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Ogunquit Playhouse); West Side Story (Signature Theatre); Bells are Ringing and Little Shop of Horrors (Berkshire Theatre Group); and Me and My Girl, Sweet Charity and Guys and Dolls (Canada’s Shaw Festival). Associate choreographer credits include Broadway’s Finian’s Rainbow and A Tale of Two Cities, and featured performer in Fosse.

PAUL SPORTELLI (Music Director)’s Arena Stage credits include Carousel (Helen Hayes Award winner), Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and The Light in the Piazza. He first collaborated with Molly Smith on Mack and Mabel at Canada’s Shaw Festival, where he is Music Director. Shaw Festival credits include Sweeney Todd, Floyd Collins and Happy End. Originally from Connecticut, Paul made his Broadway conducting debut with Aspects of Love. Other credits include Les Misérables (national tour) and Miss Saigon and Beauty and the Beast (Toronto). As a musical theater writer, his credits include Tristan and Maria Severa (Shaw Festival, available on iTunes), Little Mercy’s First Murder (Tarragon Theatre, seven Dora Awards) and Erik with a K, about the life and times of Erik Satie (work-in-progress).


Anything Goes Teaser Trailer


Audio Described

Saturday, December 1, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.

Open Captioned

Thursday, November 15, 2018 – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.