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Actor Erich Bergen On How ‘Anything Goes’ Has Remained Anything But Stuffy

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Stars Erich Bergen and Rachel York (Photo by Joan  Marcus/CenterTheatreGroup)

Stars Erich Bergen and Rachel York (Photo by Joan Marcus/CenterTheatreGroup)

Britt Bickel
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Imagine being transported back to a time when steam boats, tap dancing and flapper dresses were the norm during the mid-30s. That’s just the setting the Tony Award-winning musical Anything Goes plays out for its audiences every night on stage at the Ahmanson Theatre.

The classic 1934 musical has been revived for the modern era during its run at the Ahmanson, and star Erich Bergen joined Pat Prescott to talk more about the play and how it’s still as sharp as ever.

“The show was written in 1934. A lot of shows from that era, they have that stuffiness, the jokes are dated,” said Erich. “But with Anything Goes, because of the care that it’s been given and the updates and the attention…it’s still completely hip and completely funny.”

The musical even gets his mother’s seal of approval, who has seen it multiple times, but continues to laugh at all the jokes every time.

Listen to part one of the interview:


Having come from starring in the acclaimed Jersey Boys musical, Erich admits that at first he was concerned that Anything Goes might not have the same appeal to audiences, but was pleasantly surprised at all the positive responses the plays has received.

“It is a lot, but it’s worth it when you look out into the audience and you see these smiles. I step out on that stage every night and these people are instantly transported back to 1934. They just join in the fun…it’s a show for all ages and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of it.”

Erich notes that the audience participation and reaction is key to making every performance different each night and even how the play flows from line to line.

“When you’re doing a show around set up, punchline…if that punchline doesn’t quite get the laugh, it’s hard to get to the next set up,” explained Erich. “The audience is really part of the show.”

Listen to part two of the interview:

For tickets to see Anything Goes at the Ahmanson Theatre before the last show on January 6th, visit www.centertheatregroup.org for showtimes and information.

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