Sitting down with the principal cast of Anything Goes is like mixing with theatre royalty and headlining the show are two of our biggest and most experienced triple threats: Caroline O’Connor and Todd McKenney.
Anything Goes was staged as a limited season, concert presentation by The Production Company at Melbourne’s Art Centre in 2011. The show was hilarious, highly entertaining and well received by audiences and critics alike. It was one of those shows you couldn’t help but leave with a smile on your face: truly entertainment at its best.
The production featured Todd McKenney in the supporting role of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh – who demonstrated his flair for comedy roles and had the audiences in fits of laughter. It seems the audience were not the only ones who enjoyed the show; McKenney loved the season so much he convinced producer John Frost OAM, to produce a full scale, big budget production of Anything Goes.
“I don’t often get comedy roles, so that was what I loved the most about it,” said McKenney.
What McKenney remembers the most of The Production Company season was the audience reaction to the show.
“People remember laughs,” explained McKenney. “I thought, ‘We should do this again, with all the bells and whistles’, so I went to John Frost and told him. I didn’t think he’d go and buy the rights!”
Not only did John Frost buy the rights to Anything Goes, but he assembled an extraordinarily talented cast and creative team to bring this Tony Award winning revival show to life.
McKenney is a household name. He’s a regular judge on Dancing With The Stars, frequent guest host or panellist on The Morning Show and a radio host, apart from his theatre success. By his own admission, McKenney doesn’t “need” this gig. As for his co-star, Caroline O’Connor has toured the world and has an enviable bio of theatre credits and an array of awards.
So, what’s the real reason they’re doing Anything Goes?
“We’re at a point now that we want to have fun,” explained McKenney. “We don’t have to do it. We could do something else – we could do a concert tour. I want to enjoy it, I want to laugh … I want to go to work and enjoy every single minute of it.”
And so Todd McKenney is back, reprising his role of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh in Anything Goes. Also reprising their roles from the 2011 TPC production are Alex Rathgeber and Wayne Scott Kermond. They are joined by some new faces to the show, but performers who bring a vast array of previous experience.
“A different cast brings a different energy” said McKenney, declaring Claire Lyon is “fantastic” and Alex Rathgeber is “like a dream”. O’Connor quickly adds that Wayne Scott Kermond is “hilarity wrapped up in a small delicious parcel”.
If that wasn’t enough name dropping for one production, throw in the Helpmann Award winning team of Dean Bryant as director and Andrew Hallsworth as choreographer and this whole show is just brimming with talent. Claire Lyon admits it was this impressive line up of cast and creatives that prompted her to want to sign up!
McKenney, Rathgeber and Kermond are looking forward to reprising their roles. The longer rehearsal time has allowed the cast to really nail the comedy timing, explore the choreography and settle into their roles in readiness for opening night.
“We know what we’re doing this time; we can just enjoy it and have some fun,” says Wayne Scott Kermond. “It’s got everything in it. It’s just pure entertainment really. You have a laugh, you tap your feet and you have a grin from ear to ear. And there’s great dancing as well.”
Chatting with the cast it’s clear they’re all having a great time together and there is an obvious chemistry amongst them that is contagious. But don’t think they’re simply out for a bit of fun.
McKenney explained, “We’re not testing the waters. We take this seriously. I care that you’ve taken the time to spend your money and organised a baby sitter for the kids and driven to get there. I get that. I care.”
You know this cast is going to work hard, while they’re having fun, to ensure every single audience is treated to a fabulous performance.
While the cast expect Anything Goes will appeal to some of the older audience members who are already familiar with the show and the Cole Porter songs, the cast also know this show will appeal to all ages. With its incredible tap dance routines, Anything Goes is unlike any other show currently on the market.
Claire Lyon admitted to not knowing much about the show when she first started and was surprised to learn just how many great songs she knew are actually from this show. Songs like ‘I Get A Kick Out of You’ which she had previously only known as a Frank Sinatra song.
Anything Goes is a high energy, fun-filled show with toe-tapping songs, incredible dance routines and lots of laughs.
As Caroline O’Connor sums it up. “I love the show. I can’t imagine anyone not loving it.”
Anything Goes is currently in previews in the lead up to Sunday’s opening night in Melbourne. The show then tours to Brisbane and Sydney.
For more information and tickets: www.anythinggoesmusical.com.au