Most gay guys have a “thing” about sailor suits — from the time their moms dress them up in one through the Village People singing “In the Navy” and until they pant over the sailors disembarking during Fleet Week, nautical fantasies are common.
And Ryan Steer gets to live it.
Steer is one of the ensemble members in the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, which docks into the Winspear for 10 days starting tonight. And he enjoys the chance to dress up like a seaman.
“I’m constantly changing costumes from sailor suit to tuxedo,” he says, and “while I think all of the costumes are out-of-this-world amazing, I do adore our sailor suits — they were made to have this MGM glamour quality to them. They are very tight in the butt and make all the sailors look like caricatures of strongmen, with broad shoulders and tiny waists. I don’t think anyone’s pretending that’s not a draw. And, they are very comfortable.”
Steer probably doesn’t need to pretend to be a strongman — the young (he’s 26), strapping Oklahoma native cuts a dashing figure in street clothes. But even so, touring with the Tony Award-winning production has been something of a dream for him.
“It is a family,” he says of his company, some of whom came directly from the Broadway production but most of whom are newcomers to the show. “Rachel York is a perfect Reno Sweeney — she’s just stellar in the show.”
Still, Steer’s familiarity with Anything Goes was surprisingly thin when he was tapped to be in it.
“I knew the music of course — I’m a huge Cole Porter fan: ‘D’Lovely,’ ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ the title song. And I feel like I should have some story of doing it in high school, But I didn’t know anything about it!” he says. What he has been delighted by, however, is how, nearly 80 years after its debut, it still seems so fresh.
“This doesn’t feel stale, it doesn’t feel like an ‘old’ musical,” he says. “I’m amazed to see a period piece with such life to it.”
Steer hopes to continue to experience that life. He signed up for a full year touring with it, and has been excited everywhere he’s been. It helps that he’s not tied down (“I’m super single — sometimes I’m looking, sometimes I’m not; you need to catch me in the right mood,” he laughs) but the Dallas engagement has particular appeal for him.
“Most of my family haven’t seen the show yet . [Many of them live in Norman, Okla.], so I have 16 people coming down to see me. And no one in my family is involved in theater whatsoever, so they think it’s the bee’s-knees I’m working in it.”
Ummm, bee’s-knees? Maybe he has gotten into this revival even more than he thinks.
Anything Goes runs through Feb. 24 at the Winspear Opera House. For information, visit ATTPAC.org.