Even before auditions in mid-October, Carol Schuberg was working to prepare performing arts students for the demands of “Anything Goes,” Cole Porter’s fabulous and funny musical extravaganza that opens Dec. 1 in the Macklanburg Playhouse.

There were students who had never tap-danced before, not to mention tapped as a member of an ensemble in which the feet of 18 dancers is expected to sound like the tapping of one.

But Schuberg, a guest artist in dance and former Broadway performer, introduced tap at the beginning of the semester, and the students rose to the occasion, proving to be the perfect cast members for a musical that demands singing, dancing and acting.

“They’ve done an amazing job,” said Schuberg, who is choreographing the musical. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Originally written in 1934, “Anything Goes” is set aboard the ocean liner S. S. American, where nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney is en route from New York to England. Her pal Billy Crocker has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt, but the problem is Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Disaster ensues but romance endures on the magical show where “anything goes.” 

Sicily Mathenia ’18, who recently received first place in the Upper College Women Musical Theatre category during a three-state event hosted by the National Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS) Central Region, plays Sweeney. Delainey Phillips ’18 plays the role of Harcourt while Rob Doyen, professor of theatre at Stephens, tackles the role of Oakleigh.

Among the many toe-tapping melodies are “It’s De-Lovely,” “Friendship,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top” and “All Through the Night.” The whole show takes place on the ship, which Ken George, visiting guest artist and scenic designer, cleverly built as the set, placing the makeshift ocean liner on a turntable so it can move throughout the show.   

Director Bernard Monroe, who has worked behind the scenes for Stephens College at Okoboji Summer Theatre, said “Anything Goes” is a good old-fashion musical done in the spirit of screwball comedies of the 1930s.

“Because of the nature of the show, as well as the Cole Porter score, all the dancing and colorful characters, ‘Anything Goes’ is a show that anyone of any age would enjoy,” he said. “The score is as alive and vibrant as the day it was written.”

Monroe said the biggest challenge has been dealing with the limited number of men available to cast in the musical. All total, four men are in the show, and each plays multiple roles.

“I feel like we’ve made it work very well,” Monroe said.


Anything Goes [Musical, PG]

Performances are 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, 8-9 and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, in the Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave. Get tickets now, or contact the Box Office at (573) 876-7199 or boxoffice@stephens.edu

Tags : School of Creative & Performing Arts, Theatre, Dance

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