“Anything Goes” Sails Into The Encore Theatre

. December 1, 2017.
Tyler Driskill, musical director for “Anything Goes.”
Tyler Driskill, musical director for “Anything Goes.”

The musical comedy, “Anything Goes”, one of the most popular shows of the 1930s, has been revived many times and contains a number of songs that are now familiar standards. A transatlantic voyage aboard the S. S. America, with madcap romantic escapades and hijinks galore, provides the framework for spectacular dance numbers and some of Cole Porter’s finest songs; “It’s De-Lovely”, “Friendship”, and “I Get A Kick Out Of You.”

Current talked with Tyler Driskill, who will music direct the Encore’s production. Driskill, music director of seventeen shows at the Encore in the past nine years, has won two Wilde Awards for his work and is a highly knowledgeable student of American musical theatre.

“Anything Goes” and American musical theatre history

“Anything Goes” opened seven years after the premier of “Show Boat” (considered by many to be the first true American musical), nine years before the integrated-book, musical-earthquake “Oklahoma!” arrived on the scene. The actors (in “Anything Goes”) have a much greater challenge finding specificity in Porter’s lyrics, as brilliant as they are. Unlike a Sondheim show, or something that’s through-composed, the delineations between the book scenes and the songs/dance sequences are much more stark. But, the material just makes you feel good!

Porter was a classically trained musician….

Porter, very often underrated as a composer, doesn’t get the same recognition as a Gershwin or an Arlen, but his writing is so masterful and intricate. He’s incredibly inventive, melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, but I think his lyrics are so well crafted that they sometimes overshadow his astounding work as a composer. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” and “You’re the Top” could probably have coasted along with less superior tunes and been just as successful because the lyrics are so inventive. The chromatic writing in the former and the harmonic support of the latter are evidence alone of his brilliance as a composer. He studied with Vincent D’Indy in Paris, a student of César Franck and a devotee and colleague of Richard Wagner…so, not much more need be said! The ballad, “All Through the Night,” is a wonderful example of Porter’s compositional fluidity; it’s only at the very end that we feel we’ve settled in a particular key. “Anything Goes” is Porter at the height of his powers, with all the harmonic and melodic chromaticism that I love about his style.

You’re clearly a fan.

It’s hard to estimate just how influential the songs of Cole Porter have been for me, and for the work I’ve done in the theatre. I know that much of my interest in songwriting, lyric writing, and the Great American Songbook can be attributed to a high school class I took on four American composers/lyricists: Stephen Sondheim, Lorenz Hart, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter. Hart and Mercer were almost exclusively wordsmiths, but the other two did both music and lyrics. I loved the wit and sophistication of Porter’s lyrics. There are scant few of us who can relate to Porter’s lavish lifestyle, but I suspect that part of Porter’s appeal is his ability to make us feel a part of that urbane world of cocktail parties and society balls. He makes us feel sophisticated and smart.

“Anything Goes”
The Encore Theatre, 3126 Broad St., Dexter
Show runs through December 23
Showtimes are Thursday, Friday: 7:30pm; Saturday 2pm and 7:30pm and Sunday 2pm. During closing week , December 19-23, shows are Tuesday -Saturday 7:30pm, and Saturday 2pm
For tickets and more info, visit TheEncoreTheatre.org

Trending

Tanager’s New Album ‘HZ Donut’: Premiering New Single “Tiny Galaxies”

The beautiful thing about the kinds of songs that Tanager make are how layered they are… These are guitars that envelop you, drums that pull you, melodic phrases that levitate you (and no, I’m not on drugs as I write this)… Those ethereal traits have always distinguished a Tanager song, a hybrid of coarse distortion

Have We Met?—The Dialogue Between Past and Present

It is heartrending to see that message, reverberated through the past and into the present. Cynics may be tempted to ask, “Have we really made any progress?”. Yet, above the calls of protest and activism, the gallery is also filled with silence, waiting for the viewer’s response to the question, “Will you change it?”

Moore Takes Aim at Both Parties in Fahrenheit 11/9

Flint’s story is essential to the film because it illustrates the power of greed and why corporate money has no place in government. Macroeconomics 101 tells us that corporations are beholden to one thing—their stockholders. Humans do not enter into this equation. How can you have a democracy for the people when corporate money runs the government? You can’t.

The Kelloggs—The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek

Following Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a prodigious doctor whose ecstasy over medicine overshadowed his regard for those closest to him, and his striving younger brother W.K., who toiled unappreciated under his brother before setting off on his own to great fame and success.