‘Anything Goes’ is tops in Gardnerville
Appeal Entertainment Editor
Back in 1934, Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for a Broadway show. It was rewritten, restaged and revived after a Boston tryout and opened with Ethel Merman as the star. It ran for 420 performances in that Great Depression year, which says something about its attraction. These days it is one of two shows of that era that are still produced, The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess” the other.
It’s a show of a different type of cast coming to Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School Cafetorium. Students from Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, Douglas High School and Carson Valley Middle School make up the cast and the show runs today, Friday and Saturday and May 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and May 4 and 11 at 2 p.m.
It’s possible that audiences today may not be familiar with the show, but it won a Pulitzer Prize and spoofed gangsters and the presidency in equal salvos. What could be more appropriate in this year of a presidential election?
Here’s a boiled down report, not that it matters because it’s the music dialogue that really lifts this show up:
“Anything Goes” is a farce on an ocean liner bound for London from New York. The idea came from producer Vinton Freedley, who was living on a boat, having left the U.S. to avoid his creditors. He selected the writing team, and the star, Merman. The first draft of the show was called “Crazy Week,” which became “Hard to Get” and finally its final name.
“Hard to Get” was put on an ocean liner that was in danger, but, just a few weeks before the show was due to open, a fire on board the passenger ship SS Morro Castle caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew.
According to one version, Freedley judged that to proceed with a show on a similar subject would be in dubious taste and he insisted on changes to the script. Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse wrote the book.
Directed by Howard Lindsay with choreography by Robert Alton, it starred Ethel Merman as Reno Sweeney, William Gaxton as Billy Crocker and Victor Moore as Moonface Martin.
Here’s the plot briefly:
Billy Crocker, a young love-sick Wall Street broker, stows away on the S.S. American, in hopes of winning the heart of his beloved Hope Harcourt. His boss, Elisha J. Whitney, is also on board. He plans to relax before the tremendous sale of his own company’s stock. Hope is on her way to England to be married to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. Also on the boat are “Moonface” Martin, a second-rate gangster on the lam labeled “Public Enemy 13,” and his friend Bonnie; the two have disguised themselves as a minister and a missionary, after stranding the ship’s real chaplain back at the port.
On board, Crocker runs into his friend, Reno Sweeney, an evangelizing nightclub singer, who resolves to help Billy win over Hope, to the dismay of Hope’s mother, Mrs. Harcourt, who insists she marry Evelyn.
Billy simultaneously learns the true identities of Moonface and Bonnie, and in exchange for his silence, they join the plot to break up Hope and Evelyn.
Complicated, huh? Never mind. It all works out on stage.
Rich Garret is the director, with James Scroggins technical director. Dave Roberson is the musical director and choreography is by Jessica Shull.
“This is why I wanted to be a teacher. I get to share with these students something for which I am so passionate, and then to see it reflected in their faces is the best reward I could ask for,” says Garret.
While a newcomer to Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, Rich is no newcomer to the performing arts. He has been involved in theater for more than 25 years and is teaching drama now at the middle school.
Scoggins has been teaching and directing at Douglas High School for six years. Previously he was an actor/educator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Shull is a sophomore at Carson High School. During the choreography process of “Anything Goes,” she left for a competition in Spain where she represented America. She has performed with WNC and has been dancing for 13 years.
“I get to come here every day and rehearse with these young people, work hard, laugh and put something together that this community hasn’t had in over six years. They are as responsible for this success as we are and that is special.”
The music is memorable, including such songs as “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” “You’re the Top” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.” And the cast not quite of thousands makes the most out of the clever lyrics and tunes.
ACTORS NAME Character Grade and school
Ashley Barrett passenger 10th grader at Douglas High School
Kaitlyn Barrett Reno Sweeney 8th grader at Carson Valley Middle School
Tony Besaw cameraman 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Angela Bowser Allure 10th grader at Douglas High School
Melanie Bratsch Mrs. Harcourt 10th grader at Douglas High School.
Julia Callahan Virtue 10th grader at Douglas High School.
Christa Campbell passenger 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Justine Cawthorne passenger 8th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Riley Cooper reporter 9th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Garrett Coston drunk man 10th grader at Douglas High School
Marcus Cotton sailor 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Catherine Davis Serenity 10th grader at Douglas High School
Michael Demaree sailor 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Erik Dugan Elisha J. Whitney junior at Douglas High School
Chris Frogget Billy Crocker junior at Douglas High School
Sara Garic passenger Douglas High School
Ashley Gong Bonnie junior at Douglas High School
Alina Harwood sailor 7th grader Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Annalyse Klekar purser senior at Douglas High School
Katie Koerner Felicity 9th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Alli Kraten passenger 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Shelby Lawrence passenger 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Maggie Lee sailor 10th grader at Douglas High School
Bowman Littrell Captain 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Michael Magno Sir Evelyn Oakleigh junior at Douglas High School
Melissa Marsh Hope Harcourt 11th grader at Douglas High School
Meagan Maxwell Purity senior at Douglas High School
Mitch Miller Lead Sailor 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Victoria Martin passenger 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School.
Hanna Perry sailor 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Clara Ritger Charisma junior at Douglas High School
Gabrielle Rose Charity 10th grader at Douglas High School
Alexa Rosenberg Ching/passenger 10th grader at Douglas High School
Jackie Rosenberg Ling/passenger 10th grader at Douglas High School
Jaime Skilling Chastity/Dance Captain 10th grader at DHS
Danielle Soto Rev. Mother and sailor 10th grader at DHS
Nick Weaver Moonface Martin 10th grader at DHS
Jessica Wilson Steward 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School
Zayla Zedlar sailor 7th grader at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School