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A madcap farce aboard a ship bound for England has Reno trying to help the stowaway Billy to find his true love, who is travelling aboard. Gangsters, molls, mistaken identity, and topical humor abound.
According to Stanley Green's book Broadway Musicals: Show by Show (Hal Leonard Books; 2nd ed., 1987) and Miles Kreuger's liner notes for the John McGlinn recording of the original version of the Anything Goes score, producer Vinton Freedley fled to Panama following the failure of the Gershwins' Pardon My English (1933) (which he had produced) to avoid creditors. While fishing either off of Pearl Island (according to Green) or off of Tobago (Kreuger), he began dreaming of the perfect musical comedy to launch his comeback.
Kreuger writes that Freedley "envisioned an intimate production" in the tradition of the Princess Theatre musicals. It would be about "a group of eccentric characters aboard a cruise ship bound for England." Green seems to suggest that from the very beginning Freedley not only knew that he wanted Cole Porter to write the score, and the team of Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse to write the book, but he also knew that he wanted the leading roles to be played by William Gaxton, Victor Moore and Ethel Merman,
After returning to New York and paying off his debts, he began assembling his creative team and the show took shape.See more
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