At the conclusion of Act I, Sutton Foster and the cast of “Anything Goes,” the Broadway revival of the 1930s hit Cole Porter musical, dance and sing their way through an energetic rendition of the title song.
As you might expect from the Broadway debut of the creators of the irreverent animated television series “South Park,” a warning label comes with “The Book of Mormon.” However, a raft of Tony Awards also accompanies the hysterical musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the overwhelming smash hit of the 2010-11 Broadway season.
“It would take an hour out of the show if you take out the swear words,” said Dennis Martin, director of the group sales program for broadway.com/groups, tongue in cheek. “It is incredibly blasphemous but also extraordinarily funny, and is a very positive reaffirmation of faith.
The lyrics in many of the show’s songs are so profane that they could not be televised live on the Tony Awards show.
But that didn’t stop “The Book of Mormon” from nabbing a near-record nine Tony Awards in mid-June, including one for best musical, from a strong field of competitors, and it appears set for a long run on Broadway.
The musical tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to Africa, where they encounter poverty, AIDS and local tribal violence.
“The Book of Mormon” was a new creation; however, the Tony winner for best revival of a musical, “Anything Goes,” dates to the mid-1930s. A classic, old-fashioned musical, “Anything Goes” was written by Cole Porter and features many of his standards, such as “I Get a Kick out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “Easy To Love” and “De-lovely.”
Sutton Foster won her second Tony for best actress in a musical for her role as Reno Sweeney, an evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer, in “Anything Goes,” which also features 79-year-old Tony- and Academy Award-winner Joel Grey.
Norbert Leo Butz also grabbed his second Tony for his role as FBI agent Carl Hanratty in “Catch Me If You Can,” the adaptation of the movie of the same name about real-life Frank Abagnale Jr., a young 1960s con artist diligently pursued by Hanratty.
Veteran television actor John Larroquette won a supporting Tony for his role in “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” the only other musical revival of the season.
Larroquette plays J.B. Biggley, the boss of J. Pierrepont Finch, an ambitious mail-room clerk trying to work his way to the top of the World Wide Wicket Co. Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the movies, proves his versatility by playing Finch.
The top play this season was “War Horse,” a creative and moving story about a teenage British boy whose beloved horse was forced into military service during World War I. The story follows the horse’s wartime experiences and the boy’s efforts to eventually find him.
Innovative three-man puppet teams portray the horses. The show is an all-time favorite of Martin’s.
“It’s an amazing piece,” he said. “The leading players are eight-foot-tall puppets, but you understand every single thing they are feeling and thinking. You totally forget there are three guys manipulating them.”
After much angst, accidents, bad reviews and a record 183 preview performances, “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark” finally had its opening night June 14 after a turnover in the creative team and a major revamping.
Martin thinks the revision was worth it, and the musical, which has been drawing nearly full houses despite its problems, should settle in for an extended run.
“I have a feeling it will be around for a long time,” he said.