REVIEWS: ‘Anything Goes,’ ‘Catch Me,’ ‘The Chairs,’ ‘The Lucky Chance’

Anything GoesStephen Sondheim Theatre (formerly Henry Miller's Theatre)

It’s a busy season for theaters, with opening and closing coming fast and furious. Few things, though, as as fast and furious as the tap-dancing in Anything Goes, which continues its run this weekend at the Winspear Opera House. The national tour of this Tony Award-winning revival is part of the classic strain of American musicals where quick-witted people end happily while dancing their asses off, all the the tunes of folks like Cole Porter. There are more hits in this score than during a Mafia wedding: “Friendship,” “You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” “It’s De-Lovely” and, natch, the title tune. If hearing the sounds that make up the foundation of the Great American Songbook, belted out like Merman on speed, isn’t your idea of a fun night of theater, there’s something wrong with you.

Rachel York leads the cast as Reno Sweeney, the sassy cabaret star who’s chasing after a boy who has eyes on another girl, who is engaged to be married to a British lord, who doesn’t care much about marrying her …. Oy. Plot is not its friend. But jaunty one-liners, sexy men in sailor suits and timeless songs are. Even 80 years after it opened, the energy is as fresh as morning glory. (Through Sunday.)

How, then, can Catch Me If You Can at Fair Park Music Hall, which is just two years old, feel so much more dated than Anything Goes? Scored by the team that did Hairspray (partners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) and written by Terrence McNally, it’s also set in the 1960s and based on a hit movie. And that’s where the similarities cease.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Tomlin-BPatterson03Now that January is behind us, and it seems we don’t have to expect icy weather any time soon (though in Texas, ya never know), a lot of events are springing up for your entertainment calendar.

This is a busy weekend for limited-run events, many with gay appeal. Tonight and twice on Saturday, the Turtle Creek Chorale and Uptown Players co-present a concert version of the Terrence McNally-penned musical Ragtime at the City Performance Hall. I saw it last night, and, while long, it has some terrific singing — and acting — especially from Markus Lloyd and Tyce Green.

On Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. and again a 2 p.m., Susan Nicely performs a free mini-opera, portraying Julia Child in Bon Appetit! at the Demonstration Kitchen inside the Farmers Market. To RSVP, go to DallasOpera.org. That evening, the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet performs … and that’s a company that’s truly inventive. (We have a preview of it here.)

You can go to the ballet and still get out in time to see dance diva Kristine W headline the Carnivale celebration at Station 4 — she goes on at midnight.

On Sunday, Lily Tomlin, pictured, brings her one-woman show to the Winspear, performing her classic characters. She’s one of the legends of American comedy — you don’t want to miss it.

In addition, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day is on Thursday, and next week welcomes to major touring productions — Catch Me If You Can at Fair Park (remember: DSM’s shows now begin a half-hour earlier than before — that’s 7:30 p.m. at nighttime performances!) and Anything Goes at the Winspear.

Don’t say you’re bored — there’s too frickin’ much to do!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Tony nominations (and what’s gay about ‘em)!

Despite a boondoggle of a webcast (at least on my end, three browsers and two computers could never load it), the Tony Award nominations did come out this morning, unlike Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which ended up not being eligible for any because it has not officially opened yet despite previews starting last November.

It’s sometimes harder to quantify snubs and surprises since many shows close before the noms and live performances are organic things, but the lack of noms for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert has to be seen as a poke in the eyeball, as well as overlooked noms for Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, which moved from Off Broadway to Broadway last season.

On the upside, the success across categories of The Book of Mormon, the show from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, seems like an indication NYC theater is keeping its edge.

Of especially note to the gay community:

The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s Reagan-era play about the AIDS crisis, got its B’way debut, but peculiarly was nominated for best revival of a play. It was also nominated for two gay actors, Joe Mantello (leading) and John Benjamin Hickey (featured), as well as best direction and featured actress Ellen Barkin.

The Book of Mormon, with a lot of gay content, received a record-tying 14 nominations.

Catch Me If You Can, adapted from the Tom Hanks-Leo DiCaprio movie, got four nominations, including one for out producer Hal Luftig. It did not get nominated for its score, the last slot going instead to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown with Patti LuPone, which closed after a handful of performances. LuPone didn get a nomination, as did her Gypsy co-star Laura Benanti.

• The revival of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with gay actor Sir Brian Bedford as a cross-dressing Lady Bracknell, got three noms.

The awards will be presented June 12.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones