Anything Goes (Stage Production)

Louise Gold took over the starring role of Reno Sweeney, at The Prince Edward Theatre, from Monday 2 July 1990 to Saturday 25 August 1990 (when the show closed). She took over from Elaine Paige, who had opened in the show a year previously.

This show perhaps, marked the moment when, if it had not already been noticed before, Louise Gold became truly known for her Merman-like singing abilities.



            Reno Sweeney – Louise Gold

Billy Crocker – John Barrowman

Moonface Martin – Matt Zimmerman

Louie – Philip Griffiths

Elisha Whitney – Gordon Sterne

Fred – Nigel Waugh

Young Girl – Anita Pashley

Sailor – Anthony Lyn

Captain – David Bacon

Purser – Kevin A. J. Ranson

Purity (one of Reno’s Angels) – Angelie Walker

Chastity (one of Reno’s Angels) – Sarah Drummond

Charity (one of Reno’s Angels) – Nicola Meerloo

Virtue (one of Reno’s Angels) – Suzanne Maria Thomas

Minister – Brian Ellis

Luke – Chowee Leow

John  - John Shin

Hope Harcourt – Ashleigh Sendin

Mrs Evangeline Harcourt – Ursula Smith

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh –Nigel Williams

Erna – Danielle Carson

Mrs Wentworth Frick – Cynthia Morey

Shanty Quartet – Philip Griffiths, Patrick Long, Anthony Lyn, & Nigel Waugh


Ships Crew, Passengers, Reporters, Photographers, and, G-Men:

Nicky Andrews, Pamela Bennet, Nicola Dewdney, Sarah Drummond, Wayne Fowkes, Philip Griffiths, Mark Inscoe, Adam Jones, Lorraine Lacey, Patrick Long, Anthony Lyn, Duncan A. MacVicar, Jason Di Mascio, Stuart McLeod, Cynthia Morey, Glen Munroe, Anita Pashley, Guy Polland, Denise Ranger, Nils Seibaek, Nigel Waugh.



 Reno Sweeney – Anita Pashley

Billy Crocker – Mark Inscoe

Elisha Whitney – Brian Ellis

Evangeline Hardcourt – Cynthia Morey

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh – Anthony Lyn

Erma - Anita Pashley

Hope Hardcourt – Lorraine Lacey, Nicola Dewdney

Swings – Madline Loftin, and, Wayne Fowkes


Production Team

            Music & Lyrics – Cole Porter

            Original Production – 21 November 1934, The Alvin Theatre, Broadway, with Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney

Original (unused) Book by – P.G.Wodehouse & Guy Bolton

Original (actual) Book by – Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse

New Book by – Timothy Crouse & John Weidman

Produced by – Richard Fox Ltd, Anchorage Productions Ltd & Joan & Joe Cullman

Sets and Costumes by – Tony Walton

Lighting by – Paul Gallo

Musical Director – Paul McGuire

Orchestrations – Michael Gibson

Dance Arrangements – Tom Fay

Sound by – Tony Meola for AUTOGRPAH

Assistant to the Choreographer – Kirk Peterson

Poster Art by – James McMullian

Choreographed by – Michael Smuin

Directed by – Jerry Zaks

Company Manager – Peter Roper

Stage Manager – Camilla Clutterbuck

Deputy Stage Manager – Lorna McLean

Assistant Stage Managers – Mike Holsten, Simon Wood, and, Judith Cound

Wardrobe Supervisor – Joy Bondini

Sound Operator – Mandy Hare

Dance Captain – Madeline Loftin

The Orchestra

Conductor – Paul Maguire

Trumpets – Jim Wilson, Eddie Blair, and, Trevor Barber

Trombones – Vince Sullivan, Steve Wilkes, and, Phil Brown

Saxophones – Dennis Walton, Geoff Young, John Francis, and, Martin Frith

Drums – Stan Bourke

Bass – Don Richardson

Guitar – Pete Walton

Piano – Bunny Thompson

Percussion – Bob Campion

Violin – Helen Cooper


Dep Conductor – Bunny Thompson

Dep Pianist – Kate Young

Orchestra Management – Porter Young Management



Louise Gold and Matt Zimmerman went on to reprise their roles of Reno and Moon on studio cast recording of Anything Goes - Website Recommended Album  on JAY/TER’s Music Theatre Hour label. Philip Griffiths also sang on this recording, which uses the same score, by Michael Gibson, as this production, and is conducted by John Owen Edwards, who had been conductor on this production when it first opened in 1989.

The authorship of the Book/Script for Anything Goes requires a little explanation. The show was originally called Hard To Get, starred Ethel Merman, William Gaxton and Victor Moore, and had a book by P.G.Wodehouse and Guy Bolton whose plot revolved around a sinking ship. Unfortunately there was nothing remotely funny about the plot, and just before the show was due to open there was a bad shipwreck, the S. S. Morrow Castle, just off the coast of New York, making it even less funny. Thus, with the original authors unavailable, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse had to be brought in to revise the plot. Since most of sets had already been built it had to be set on a ship, but one that didn’t sink. Cole Porter had written most of the score, but inspired by the chaos, when leading man William Gaxton asked if he had any suggestions for a new title for the show replied “In this show Anything Goes” and Cole Porter promptly went and wrote the title song.

P.G Wodehouse later contributed addition lyrics for the original London version of Anything Goes, and some of those lyrics (according to Rexton S Bunnet) namely:

"When Grandmamma whose age is eighty

In nightclubs are getting maty

With gigolo's

Anything Goes"


"When Mother's pack and leave poor Father

Because they decide they'd rather

Be tennis pro's.

Anything goes."

found their way into both this production of the show, and later onto the JAY/TER studio cast album Anything Goes (Recording). - Website Recommended Album

The complete score from the show as it would have appeared on opening night, in 1934, was recorded in 1989 by John McGlinn conducting the LSO, with Kim Criswell as Reno Sweeney. It also featured: Chris Groendel as Billy Crocker, Jack Gilford as Moon, and Frederica Von Stade as Hope Harcourt.

Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse went on author the books and scripts for two more stage shows starring the mighty Ethel Merman, namely, Red Hot & Blue, and Call Me Madam.

The first London production of Anything Goes, was mounted by Charles Blake Cochran in 1935, a The Palace Theatre, with Jeanne Aubert as Reno (where they gave the character her “French” name, of Reno Lagrange). Incidentally, the number The Gypsy In Me was still performed in it’s original form, by Hope (played by Adele Dixon) and the girls. The number Buddy Beware was not included in the production.

Anything Goes was filmed in 1936, with an altered book, and much altered score, retaining only a few songs, starring Bing Crosby as Billy Crocker. However, it did retain one crucial element of the stage show, namely Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney.  Ms Merman also starred in a 1950’s Television version, which had Frank Sinatra as Billy Crocker and Bert Lahr as Moon. This version retained rather more of the original score, and the interpolated additional songs were from other shows in the Merman/Porter quintet

In 1988, Jerry Zaks launched a big revival of Anything Goes on Broadway, with Patti Lupone in the central role of Reno Sweeney, and a revised book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman. This production retained the songs (Friendship and It’s De-Lovely) interpolated into the 1950’s Television version. In 1989 he brought this production to London at The Prince Edward Theatre, with Elaine Paige as Reno, and a year later she was replaced by the lady they call “The English Ethel Merman”, namely, Louise Gold.

Louise Gold took-over from Elaine Paige on Monday 2 July 1990, it appears to have been a tough role for even her powerful pipes, since by the end of the week she had problems with her voice, and her understudy (Anita Pashley) had to play both performances on Saturday 6 July. Though presumably she was back on form the following week.

Whenever the conductor, Paul Maguire was absent, he would be replaced by Bunny Thompson (as his dep), and Bunny’s dep Kate Young would replace Bunny as pianist.

In July 2002 Grange Park Opera near Alresford in Hampshire mounted a production of Anything Goes, starring Kim Criswell as Reno Sweeney. This might well claim to be the most complete version ever staged, involving both as much of the original Lindsay and Crouse book as possible, with as many of the later additions as practical.

The following year, 2003, John Barrowman reprised his role of Billy Crocker, this time with Sally Ann Triplett as Reno, in a revival staged by The National Theatre in their Olivier auditorium, that production later transferred the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. With the result that Anything Goes has to date played no fewer than three of the big London theatres.

Friendship is one of those Cole Porter songs that has undergone several variations. It originally appeared in the musical Du Barry Was A Lady. According to The Complete Lyrics Of Cole Porter  it has 6 refrains, all of which were apparently sung in that show. However, when Ethel Merman and Bert Lahr sang the song in a radio broadcast in December 1939, Refrains 5 and 6 (the ones that begin “If you ever loose your mind, I’ll be kind” and “If they hang you, pard, send a card. If they ever cut your throat, write a note”)  were cut, but the other 4 refrains were sung exactly as stated. Most subsequent performances of the song, however, have tended to omit Refrain 2 (the one that begins “If you ever loose your way, come to May”).  When Judy Garland and Johnny Mercer recorded a version of the song they sang Refrains 1, 3, 4 and 5. However in that version the line in Refrain 1 “If you ever need a pal I’m your gal” was changed to “If your ever in a mess, S.O.S” (a variation later sung by Merman when she guested on The Muppet Show), and the line in refrain 3 “If you ever catch on fire, send a wire” was changed to “If your ever up a tree, call to me”. When Elaine Paige and Bernard Cribbens recorded the song for the 1989 London revival cast album they recorded Refrains 1, 3, 5 and 6, but rather than use the original opening line to Refrain 6 “If they hang you, pard, send a card” they sang its more often used replacement “If you ever crack your spine trussle mine”. When Louise Gold and Matt Zimmerman recorded the song for a studio cast album recording of Anything Goes they sang all refrains except for Refrain 2, and again the opening line of Refrain 6 they used was “If you ever crack your spine trussle mine”. All six refrains were, however, sung by Louise Gold and Barry Cryer in Du Barry Was A Lady (1993 Production) but again the opening line of Refrain 6 they used was “If you ever crack your spine trussle mine”. However, eight years later in Du Barry Was A Lady (2001 Production) Louise Gold and Desmond Barrit sang the whole song as given, complete with the original Refrain 6 opening line: “If they ever hang you, pard, send a card”. Likewise in July 2002 when Kim Criswell and Graham Bickley sang the song in Grange Park Opera’s very full production of Anything Goes, they sang the whole song as given complete with Refrain 2 “If you ever lose your way, come to May” and the original Refrain 6 opening line “If they ever hang you pard, send a card.”.

Cole Porter went on to write four more musicals starring Ethel Merman, namely: Red Hot & Blue, Du Barry Was A Lady (see: Du Barry Was A Lady (1993 Production) & Du Barry Was A Lady (2001 Production) ), Panama Hattie, and, Something For The Boys. Louise Gold went on to become one of the few artistes to have played Merman’s role in the whole quintet; having played the subsequent four parts in Ian Marshall-Fisher’s Lost Musicals productions (from 1991 to 1996).

Louise Gold has also performed Cole Porter’s songs in Noel/Cole: Let’s Do It, and on that show’s associated album Noel/Cole: Let’s Do It (Recording), as well as in the musicals Kiss Me Kate, and, Mexican Hayride.

The has always with I Get A Kick Out Of You, because Cole Porter insisted on having one of the best numbers in the show early on, as a revenge on latecomers. He knew that some Society people liked to make an impact by arriving late at shows, and thought it bad manners.

Louise Gold subsequently parodied her own performances of I Get A Kick Out Of You, and, Anything Goes on Sesame Street, while puppeteering Miss Ethel Mermaid singing I Get A Kick Out Of U. She also did a monster singing Anyone’s Nose (with practically the same intonations as her own performance of the proper song).

Louise Gold, Matt Zimmerman, and, Philip Griffiths all sang on the JAY/TER recording of On The Town and Anything Goes (recording) - Website Recommended Album

Louise Gold and Matt Zimmerman have appeared in Let ‘Em Eat Cake

Louise Gold and Philip Griffiths also went on the sing on the JAY/TER recording of Cabaret .

Louise Gold, Kevin A. J. Ranson, and Anita Pashley had previously appeared together in The Pirates Of Penzance, where Anita took over Louise’s role of Isabel (at the first major cast change, when Louise departed to work on the Spitting Image pilot). Louise Gold and Kevin A. J. Ranson were in The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Performance), The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Preview) (where Anita Pashley was not credited in the programme), and, The Pirates Of Penzance (Benefit Preview). Kate Young had also been a dep pianist on that production. Martin Frith also played in the orchestra on that production.

Louise Gold and Stuart McLeod went on to appear in Calamity Jane, one of Louise’s other starring musical roles.

Danielle Carson, Louise Gold and Ursula Smith later appeared together in The Lost Musicals production of By Jupiter

Danielle Carson and Louise Gold also appeared together in The Lost Musicals productions of Du Barry Was A Lady (1993 Production)  and Red Hot & Blue, and on the JAY/TER recording of Stop The World I Want To Get Off

Louise Gold and Ashleigh Sendin later appeared together in The Lost Musicals productions of One Touch of Venus (in 1992), Something For The Boys, and Of Thee I Sing.

Louise Gold later starred in the title role in Oh Kay, which did have a book by Guy Bolton and P.G.Wodehouse.

John Weidman later contributed to the script of Assassins, which Louise Gold appeared in the original London production of; and Kate Young helped out as a rehearsal pianist.

John Barrowman and Matt Zimmerman’s recording credits include The History Of The Musical which also includes an excerpt of Louise Gold singing I Get A Kick Out Of You.

John Barrowman’s recording credits include Simply Musicals, and, The Best Of The Musicals, both of which also include a track of Louise Gold singing the title song from Anything Goes.

Matt Zimmerman’s recording credits include The Greatest Musicals of the 20th Century, which also includes a track of Louise Gold singing I Get A Kick Out Of You,  the opening number from Anything Goes.

Autograph also did the sound for: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Touring Production), A Time To Start Living, Follies, Gypsy, and, Candide In Concert.

John Barrowman’s recording credits include  Centre Stage Showtime!.

Danielle Carson’s recording credits include The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens.

Louise Gold went on to ‘take-over’ another role in the West End that Pattie Lupone had been playing on Broadway, when she replaced Cheryl Campbell in Noises Off .

Louise Gold specifically, and quite delightfully highlighted her work in Anything Goes in a radio interview Tim McArthur Interview.

Judith Cound had previously worked on When I Was A  Girl I Used To Scream And Shout.

Jim Wilson went on to play for Broadway To Brighton.

Bunny Thompson went on to write arrangements for Kids At Heart.

Peter Walton went on to play for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

John Barrowman, and, Danielle Carson’s recording credits include Magic Of The Musicals, which also includes a track of Louise Gold singing the title song from Anything Goes.

Kate Young, Mark Inscoe, and, Philip Griffiths may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon.

John Barrowman, and, Danielle Carson’s recording credits include 100 Hits Musicals. That album also includes Elaine Paige (whom Louise Gold took-over from in this production) singing two songs from this show.

Given David Munro’s comments in the reviews below, it is perhaps interesting to note that the year before playing Reno in this production of Anything Goes, Louise Gold had been performing the title role on the music education TV series The Ghost Of Faffner Hall, on which Marion Montgomery was a guest.

Ten years after starring in Anything Goes, Louise Gold returned to The Prince Edward Theatre, in a starring role in another second cast, namely as Tanya in the second cast of Mamma Mia. While sixteen years after her Anything Goes triumph, Louise Gold has once again found herself back at The Prince Edward Theatre in a somewhat lesser role in Mary Poppins. On the latter Simon Wood was the stage manager.


Critics Comments

 “Every Reno therefore has to bring her own interpretation of the role with the memory of Merman permeating it. This is a task which has defeated Elaine Paige, Marian Montgomery and Patti LuPone amongst others. For me, the only players who have succeeded in the role were Louise Gold (who took over from Elaine Paige), Sally Triplett and now Miss Jones.” David Munro, (In a review of a 2006 revival of Anything Goes starring Ria Jones) INDIE LONDON, Spring 2006

 “On my second visit, Louise Gold had taken over the lead and was, I thought, better. Tall and sassy, she gave the classic songs “You’re The Top” and “I Get A Kick Out Of You” her utmost” Ken Sephton, (In Musical Memories: The Prince Edward Theatre) WORDS AND MUSIC, issue 32 January 1999


Links about Anything Goes

Indie London’s review of a touring production of Anything Goes, which just happens to make a very nice reference to this production:

Theatre Radio’s interview with Louise Gold 

 Muppet Central/Tibby's Bowl Interview with Louise Gold

A fairly comprehensive review of a 2002 revival of Anything Goes, starring Kim Criswell:

Sesame Street’s Official Site, clip of a parody of the title song (as Anyone’s Nose), the puppeteer’s vocal interpretation of it is probably very similar to that of Reno Sweeney in this production):

A Review of dep pianist Kate Young many years later being a dep pianist on an RAFA Charity Show:

Amazon’s reference to this production on a page for the JAY/TER album:

John Barrowman Fansite, includes a mention of this production:


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