2 Acts, Book Musical, Rated PG
Revised Version (2004)
Society, government and religion are lampooned in this unconventional satire of small town life. Anyone Can Whistle, an absurdist social satire about insanity and conformity (among a dozen other things) is probably the bravest show Stephen Sondheim wrote, at least until Assassins. A legendary cult show, this wacky, intelligent, highly unconventional musical points ahead to Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking work in the 1970's even as it keeps a foot firmly rooted in musical theatre's "golden age." Anyone Can Whistle tells the story of a corrupt mayoress who fakes a miracle to revitalize her bankrupt town (through the resulting pilgrim trade) and the ill-fated romance between the rational nurse out to expose the fraud and the easy-going doctor determined to enjoy the chaos it brings. In the end, the show delivers a poignant message about the importance of the individual in a conformist society-but not before aiming its still-relevant barbs at government, religion, science and anything else that stands in its way!
With its circus-like atmosphere, Anyone Can Whistle features plenty of memorable, lovably cartoonish roles of all sizes. The dazzling, melodic Broadway-style score overflows with the youthful energy of experimentation, consisting of one showstopper after another, including two extensive ballets which provide opportunities for some inspired choreography.
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When the original production of Bugsy Malone was done in London, the producers auditioned over 13,000 children between the ages of 9 and 16.