Theatre preparing for upcoming musical “Anything Goes”

Greg Gancarz

Staff Writer

Photo by Greg Gancarz | Stage manager HeatherAnn Layman (upper-left) gives a safety walkthrough to members of the cast.

Photo by Greg Gancarz | Stage manager HeatherAnn Layman (upper-left) gives a safety walkthrough to members of the cast.

Rehearsals for Parkland’s production of “Anything Goes” are ongoing, with under a month left before the show’s premiere on the night of April 6.

“It’s exactly what you think of when you picture musical theatre,” says Tafadzwa Diener, a theatre major. “Expect lots of fun and a really good time.”

The musical follows the antics of Billy Crocker, a Wall Street banker who falls in love with Hope, a woman he meets in a New York taxi cab. The subject of his infatuation is already engaged, however. The pair eventually wind up aboard a steamer bound for London where Billy’s boss and a notorious gangster wind up trying to help him win Hope. Plenty of misadventures occur in the process.

“There’s a whole lot of mistaken identity things going on,” says Quinton Ohlsson, a Parkland freshman who plays a member of the sailor quartet. “At one point, people think Billy is Public Enemy Number One.”

Members of the cast and crew say they are confident they will be ready for opening night.

“[We] have everything together and it’s really well organized,” Ohlsson said. “Everyone’s doing a great job”

Diener noted there was certainly work to be done—considering she says they are only about halfway through rehearsals—but is confident that the first showing would be a success. Soon they will switch to off-book rehearsals, which take place without the use of nearby scripts to guide the actors.

“We’re just now polishing off what we’ve been learning, like blocking and dancing and the music,” Ohlsson said. “We’re at the stage where we know pretty much everything, but repetition is important. We really need to polish everything off and make sure that we have it all perfect.”

Practices for Cole Porter’s 1934 musical have been going on for over a month. They originally only took up around three days each week, but now with the premier getting closer, “they get more condensed and they happen more often,” says Ohlsson. “Some weekdays I have off, but most days, I’m here.”

With practice sometimes lasting as long as three hours, getting time in for other responsibilities can be very difficult according to Diener. In her opinion, balancing her schedule is the hardest aspect of taking part in the production.

“It takes up a lot of time, especially with a job,” Diener says.

Starting April 6 there will be three weekends of shows, with performances the cast members say will be “lots of fun.”

Ohlsson says “the music’s good and it’s a classic. It’s definitely going to be a fun time.”

Julia Megan Sullivan, the show’s director says that many cast members who had performed in other productions of the musical were “delighted” to be in it again.

“I heard from so many people in the community who wanted to share happy memories of being in another [“Anything Goes”] production,” Sullivan says.

For the cast putting it on, several said they were more nervous when first meeting the other cast members than when they are performing in front of large crowds. Diener said performing in front of large crowds is “kind of fun” for her.

This excitement over performing is not in place of nervousness, but rather in spite of it.

“I’m never not nervous,” Ohlsson says. “Eventually you get used to it and you learn how to manage it, but when you get up there for the first time, it’s always a little nerve-wracking.”

Cast- and crew-members say they get along and work together well.

“I am so grateful for the team that is launching this production,” Sullivan said. “When we had our first production meeting, I said very clearly that, as the director, I didn’t have all of the answers or ideas. If I did, I would need significantly less talented people on the team. Instead, this show has the benefit of some of the most talented artists and technicians in the area working collaboratively to create something special.”

“‘Anything Goes’ is a gift we are making for our audience,” he said. “We have created something spectacularly fun, lighthearted, and entertaining, and I look forward to sharing it.”

Showings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on April 6–8, 13–15, 21, and 22, and 3 p.m. on April 23 in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre in the C-wing. Ticket rates are $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, $10 for children, and $12 for groups of 15 or more people. Tickets can also be purchased for half-price on opening night.

For additional information on the Parkland production of “Anything Goes,” go to theatre.parkland.edu/anythinggoes.html.