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Anything goes ... when the kid goes to bed

Lead actress in Segerstrom Center's upcoming musical juggles performing and parenting duties.

September 19, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani | This post has been corrected, as noted below.
  • Ryan Steer, Bobby Pestka, Rachel York, Jeremy Benton and Kristopher Thompson-Bolden in "Anything Goes," playing now at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Ryan Steer, Bobby Pestka, Rachel York, Jeremy Benton… (Joan Marcus / Daily…)

Now that Rachel York is a parent, the days when anything goes are coming to an end.

The reason? Her daughter, Olivia, has reached preschool age.

York has picked up rave reviews for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in Roundabout Theatre Company's "Anything Goes." The tour — her last for the foreseeable future — kicked off in Cleveland in October and has since made its way to Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. Olivia has accompanied her mom every step of the way.

The New York City-based actress has visited children's museums and playgrounds with her well-traveled tot and carved out playtime between rehearsals and shows.

The company was in the midst of its Las Vegas run when Olivia turned 2, York recalled, adding, "The cast and audience sang 'Happy Birthday' to her. How many 2-year-olds get to have that in their lifetimes?"

The mother-daughter team (plus nanny) will be in Costa Mesa from Tuesday to Sunday when the high-energy musical comes to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. As the final show of the 2012-13 Broadway season, "Anything Goes," directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, is part of the venue's Curtain Call series.

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"The only other time the center presented 'Anything Goes' was in September 1989, and it starred the one and only Mitzi Gaynor," said the center's president, Terrence Dwyer. "So when this Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of this musical went on tour, we were naturally elated to include this as part of our season. It's exciting to think of who will be attending this show — those who remember it from '89 and a whole new generation or two."

Music and lyrics by legendary composer and songwriter Cole Porter — "Anything Goes," "It's De-Lovely", and "I Get a Kick Out of You" — uplift the tale of an ocean liner's passengers. The musical has been revived several times since its 1934 debut on Broadway.

According to York, the fun of "Anything Goes" lies in its costumes, comedy, art-deco sets and dances. For her, the challenge is in maintaining the level of energy required by the role — evidenced by a nine-minute tap routine, which is a complete aerobic workout, she said. When exhaustion hits, she turns to the audience, refueling with their joy and appreciation.

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