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Alex Finke thrives in 'Anything Goes' at Roundabout Theatre Company

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Alex Finke and Erich Bergen appear in Roundabout Theatre Company’s touring production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.”
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Of course, Alex Finke is thrilled to be in the touring company of a big Broadway revival in her first big role out of college.

But the 22-year-old Dayton, Ohio, native, who plays Hope Harcourt in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning “Anything Goes,” is equally excited to be out on the road.

“I hadn’t traveled, and I’m getting to see all parts of the country, seeing what each city has to offer,” she said last week on the phone from her dressing room at Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, where the tour has stopped before it opens Tuesday in San Francisco at Golden Gate Theatre.

“California is beautiful, the weather is amazing,” she says. “I’m used to disgusting, gray, slushy winters.”

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She rattles off places she has been: Cleveland; East Lansing, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; Wilmington, Del.; Tempe and Tucson, Ariz.; and Toronto, where she got to use her passport.

But her journey to “Anything Goes” began in New York last year, where she appeared in a showcase not long after graduating from the University of Michigan’s theater program, which she loved for its nurturing, individualistic philosophy.  

Her performance of “Life With Harold,” a “big, goofy number” from “The Full Monty,” prompted an email from Steve Kopel, who was casting Roundabout Theatre Co.’s tour.

“I don’t know what caught his eye,” says Finke, who admits, “I got very lucky in that I got an incredible opportunity right out of school.”

Today, with the negligible inconvenience of living out of a suitcase and missing family and friends, she loves her job, including working with director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall, whom she has admired for years.

But she didn’t decide on a musical theater career until she was in “On the Town” in high school, even though she grew up loving “The Sound of Music” and Julie Andrews, and great comediennes like Bernadette Peters and Carol Burnett.

“My grandfather would get me Rodgers and Hammerstein videos,” Finke adds.

Like those classics, “Anything Goes” is different from some contemporary, satirical musicals that are hits today, but that’s working to the show’s commercial advantage.

“It’s pretty much the only classic musical touring the nation. They haven’t gotten anything like this out on the road for awhile,” she adds. “People are on their feet every night.”  

 With Cole Porter’s “amazing and timeless music and phenomenal lyrics” in famous songs such as “You’re the Top,” “Friendship” and “I Get a Kick Out of You,” Finke — whose big number is  “It’s Delovely” — sees “Anything Goes” as a “musical that keeps coming back around.”

lkatz@sfexaminer.com

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