Anything Goes

Anything Goes is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The "book" was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It introduced such songs as "You're the Top" and "Anything Goes".

Anything Goes was based on an idea by a producer, Vinton Freedley, who was living on a boat in Panama, having left the USA to avoid his debts. He selected the writing team, and the star, Ethel Merman. As the show was in preparation, a passenger ship, the SS Morro Castle, sank and over 125 passengers were drowned. The plot, which concerned a shipwreck, was deemed insensitive, and the show was largely rewritten.

The resulting story was that of a nightclub singer, Reno Sweeney, played by Merman. The show opened at the Alvin Theatre, New York City, on 21 November, 1934 and became the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s. It was filmed in 1936, starring Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby.

The song "Anything Goes" achieved a minor revival when it was used in the famous Monty Python's Flying Circus "Courtroom sketch". The Pythons also introduced a completely different (no pun intended) song called "Anything Goes" by "the other Cole Porter". ("Anything goes in, anything goes out, fish, bananas, old pyjamas, mutton, beef and trout...")

According to the title song, "In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now God knows, anything goes"

Perhaps one of the most widely-seen slices of the musical is the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where Kate Capshaw sings the title song in Cantonese at a Shanghai club Harrison Ford is visiting.

For the 1987 Broadway Revival, which starred Patti Lupone in the role of Reno Sweeney, John Weidman and Timothy Crouse (Russel's son) updated the book and re-ordered the musical numbers, borrowing Cole Porter pieces, most notably the song "De-Lovely", from other Porter shows, a practice which the composer often engaged in.


This fun, lively musical tells the story of passengers Billy, a stowaway on board the SS American, who is searching desperately for the heart of Hope, who is sailing to be married in her husband, Evelyn's homeland of England. Reno Sweeny, a popular nightclub singer, helps Billy out after meeting the lovely Evelyn. Infamous Moonface Martin, public enemy number thirteen, along with his "friend" Bonnie, also help Billy acheive his goal of breaking Evelyn and Hope up.

Anything Goes! is also a retail chain of discount stores operating in North West London, United Kingdom.


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