… and a “De-lovely” new ticket price for kids and students!
The Barnstable High School Drama Club this week presents one of the most famous musicals of all time, Anything Goes. The plot is frothy, the lines are witty, and the music exquisite. It’s the perfect spring pick-me-up after the snowy, frigid winter we’ve all had to endure.
According to the musical’s director (and BHS English teacher) Ed O’Toole, the BHS Drama Club last presented Anything Goes 40 years ago: “It’s a little different now; the book’s been updated here and there, and the order of songs changed a little form that version, but those Cole Porter songs are still the jewels in the crown.”
No exaggeration there: great songs pop up every time you turn around in this show: “It’s De-Lovely;” “You’re the Top;” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow’” (“a show-stopper, thanks to our choreographer, Laura Shea, and her team of tap dancers,” O’Toole promises); “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and of course the title song.
“We’re trying something new this year, with a reduction in ticket prices to just five dollars for children and all students with an ID. We’re hoping that even if the name is not as familiar to them as those of our last three musicals (Grease, The Little Shop of Horrors and The Sound of Music), they’ll still be inclined to give this great show a look-see.”
“And maybe come back to see it again!” chimed in a passing BHSDC member on her way to rehearsal.
The cast, crew, and musicians number well over 100 and include BHS students and faculty, as well as students and teachers from the Barnstable intermediate and elementary schools. Students are also designing, building and painting the sets under the guidance of the club’s Technical Director, Drama Club alumnus and mainstay of local theatre, Matt Kohler. Master carpenter Wally Seaver is back, too, and if you thought his staircase in last year’s Sound of Music was spectacular, just wait until you see his handiwork on Anything Goes. Costumes are being made by a number of the club’s loyal longtime costume-makers under the leadership of yet another Drama Club alum, Joan Macallister, whom O’Toole calls “invaluable.”
The club’s assistant advisor, Jeff Billard, who along with senior Chad Williams, also plays the comical plutocrat Elisha Whitney, was quick to agree: “There is no way we could do the kinds of shows we do without Matt and Joan.”
In a nice bit of symmetry, BHS Drama and Theatre Arts teacher Keith Caldwell, double-cast with senior Billy Lundy as disguised gangster Moonface Martin, is reprising a role he last played in his senior year at BHS in that 1975 production under the direction of Jim Ruberti. Caldwell said that he “was surprised that so much of what we did back then came right back to me.” Caldwell added with a laugh, “I guess Jim Ruberti made a greater impression on me than I thought!”
Also featured in key parts are BHSDC veterans David Palmer and Gabe Rourke as the charming Billy Crocker and Isabella Macallister and Jenny Griffin as the evangelist-turned-chanteuse Reno Sweeney. Supporting them are freshman Maddie Lamothe and sophomore Hannah Wolfe as the famous debutante Hope Harcourt; junior Saarah Murphy and senior Maggie Murphy as Hope’s upper-crust mother, Evangeline; senior Colton Bergal as the madcap Lord Evelyn Oakleigh; and sophomores Sarah Carlon and Maeve Moriarty as Moonface’s sometime moll, Erma.
O’Toole cites the team approach as the key to the show’s success: “Last year, we put on The Sound of Music with much of this same team and drew over 4,000 people. That success was such a tribute to the teamwork of the Drama Club and the BHS Music Department. We are lucky to have Marcia Wytrwal, Vocal Instructor at BHS, return as our Vocal Director, and Meaghan O’Connor, who teaches Symphonic Band and Music Technology at BHS, conducting the orchestra.
“This is not a simple score by any means,” O’Toole says, “but Marcia and Meaghan prepared for months before they began working with the students, and that preparation is paying off now. Despite six snow days, a snowy February vacation, and the challenges we face in finding enough time to build and rehearse on the PAC stage between Cape Cod Symphony shows, we are — knock wood — right about where we want to be in our last week.”
Choreographer and BHS math teacher Laura Shea is a new part of the team this year. “Laura loves this show: she’s been in it before and was eager to choreograph it,” O’Toole mentions. We put out the call for tap dancers and were overwhelmed by the response. Laura and the dancers bring talent and enthusiasm to every rehearsal. I think audiences are really going to be amazed by these dance numbers.”
Asked about the specific challenges that producing Anything Goes poses, O’Toole answers, “I don’t see challenges, really; I see opportunities for me and the entire cast and crew. I love the collaborative aspects of putting on a big show like this. I always tell the students that no one is ever ‘just in the chorus’ or ‘just in the crew,’ because in an undertaking as big as this, every single part of it must go right every time we do it. And that means that everyone’s contribution is a big one. And that’s what makes the payoff so special.”
If you loved The Sound of Music last year – and over 4,000 playgoers did – you’re sure to love Anything Goes!
Anything Goes will be presented in the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center at 744 West Main Street, Hyannis on March 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7 PM, with matinees on March 21 and 28 at 2 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and students with an ID. Reservations are strongly suggested, and may be made by calling (508) 771-6246.