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Sutton Foster and Kathleen Marshall on “Anything Goes”


Listen to star Sutton Foster and director Kathleen Marshall discuss what it took to revive “Anything Goes.”


I was very lucky that I grew up in a home and with a family that was in love with the arts. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

My parents were both college professors, academics and my brother and sister and I, um, where they took us to everything.

They took us to ballet symphony operas, Shakespeare plays, musicals, but we especially love musicals.

You know, I think every director choreographer, we sort of have the same journey. We were all kids in the chorus at one point.

So I was a dancer. I was a performer.

I was touring in 'Cats' of all things in the us when my brother who was also my brother, Rob who's also a performer was a dancer at the time has, was transitioning into choreography.

And he was asked to come in on a show called kiss of the spider woman and to sort of come in and do additional choreography.

And he brought me in and we went to Toronto, we went to brought it to London and we brought it to Broadway.

And that was my brother's Broadway debut was a choreographer and my Broadway debut also and from then, you know, I think for choreography, it's really like, like an apprenticeship art.

Every choreographer I know was a dancer then maybe became a dance captain and then an assistant choreographer, and then maybe had a chance to choreograph and then maybe get a chance to direct in choreograph.

I was sort of excited and nervous because there'd been a very successful production of Anything Goes at Lincoln Center with Patti LuPone, but that was in 19, like '87, '88, something like that.

So I thought, well, I think enough time has passed.

Maybe it's time we could do a new production, if anything goes.

And then once Sutton foster came on board to play Reno Sweeney, then we were off to the races and it was just, I knew we could create something really special with her.

I don't come from a musical theater family. My, um, my dad worked for a Chevrolet.

It was a car dealership salesman, man. My mom was a mom.

Um, but my mom had aspirations of being a model when she was young, although that didn't pan out, but she, anytime her children showed anything that I have an older brother who's five years older, but anytime her children showed anything that was, um, unconventional or anything involving the arts, she was, um, incredibly encouraging. And, uh, she loved the movies and she put me in dance class when I was four and I started ballet and tap and loved all of that and then started doing, um, community theater because they needed dancers. So they came to our dance studio.

This was in Augusta, Georgia in the States.

And there was a little signup that said they were doing Annie at the Augusta Players Community Theater.

And they needed dancers young girls dancers to play the orphans.

And my mom's like, you should audition. And I was like, 'Oh, I wanna play with my friend Bethany.' and she's like, you should go.

And so I went and then, I was 10 and I had to sing for the first time in front of everybody.

And there was like a piano. And, uh, I sang, um, I think maybe from the show, I knew the movie and my mom's said, the whole room got quiet and it was the first time I had ever sung in public.

And I was like, you know, my like Jean cutoffs and like jelly shoes and stuff.

And they ended up casting me as Annie.

We'd go to the library and get cassette tapes of one of the very first cassette tapes we checked out was 'Me and My Girl' with Robert Lindsay. And like, I was like, that was like my very first, you know, musical theater album that I was like obsessed with.

And me and my girl was actually my first show that I ever saw professionally.

I was 15 and the tour of it came to Detroit.

We were living in Detroit at the time.

And I remember seeing that it wasn't with Robert Lindsay, but I remember seeing that for the first time and being like, what is this?

I wanna be a part of this world.

So growing up, the person that I was the most obsessed with was Patti LuPone.

I was a, I'm still Patti LuPone's number one fan. Um, she did a concert version. Um, there was a celebration for a Sondheim celebration at Carnegie hall.

This was in '92 or '91 and she's sang, uh, this she's sang a, a rendition of 'Being Alive' from 'Company.' And I remember being 15 years old and watching that and being mesmerized by her, um, talent and her confidence.

And, um, I was, I don't remember anyone else who performed in that, in that celebration, except for her I've told her this, I am like, I'm like obsessed with her.

And one of the reasons why I wanted to play Reno Sweeney was because Patti LuPone had played Reno Sweeney.

Yeah. You know, Sutton has already won Tony award for 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' and was, had done many other Broadway shows.

But I think what really excited me about creating anything goes for Sutton. Is that not only is she a great singer, great actress, great comedian, um, but she's an unbelievable dancer. And I think, you know, for the, for me, I think the really exciting things that we, we could build these big production numbers around her and her talent as a dancer.

I think one of the things Sutton and I were most excited about coming here and revisiting the show at the Barban was that the rest of the cast was gonna be new, that we had a blueprint of a show and she had the essence of this character, but the most exciting thing was to work with these new cast members.

And of course the best is that is that she gets to perform with Robert Lindsay.

And he's, he's so brilliant. I've been a huge fan of his, um, ever since I saw him and me and my girl on Broadway. And I first, uh, when I first met with Robert, I said, you know, you, you came to Broadway, you, you stole our hearts and then you broke our hearts because you never came back . And so to get the chance to work with him, I just adore him.

I think he's brilliant. And he's, um, and he moves so beautifully and he's, he's, he's just such a brilliant comic actor, um, but also gives his characters, depth and balance. And, uh, and I think he, and Sutton, there's something just magical about the two of them together.

And it's, what's great about it is that it's sort of Moon and Reno has this incredible chemistry, but so do Robert and Sutton.


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