A ‘madcap comedic romp’ awaits in ‘Anything Goes’ spring musical

By: 
Jordan Gerard

On the ocean liner, SS American, anything goes, including love at first sight, some shenanigans and snagging the girl of one man’s dreams.

Join the Spring Grove High School Drama Department as they set sail in “Anything Goes” on April 26 and 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the school gymnatorium. 

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students or seniors and can be purchased at the door. 

Cole Porter wrote the original musical in 1934, but the drama department will be performing the 1987 Beaumont Version, which is the latest revival available for performance, drama/English teacher Megan Miller said. 

Aboard the ocean liner S.S. American, nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney is en route from New York to England.

Her friend Billy Crocker has stowed away on the ship to be near his love, Hope Harcourt. However, Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.

Adding to the comedy is Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin and his sidekick-in-crime, Erma, who join forces to help Billy win Hope’s heart.

The characters’ uses of elaborate disguises, some tap-dancing sailors and good old-fashioned blackmail will help them in their quest.

The production includes a musical number with tap-dancing and popular songs “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top,” and “I Get a Kick Out of You.”

Miller says the students are doing “incredibly well” in rehearsal for the production.

“[They’re] definitely having a lot of fun with it,” she said. “There is a lot of dancing, character accents and amazing singing. You won’t want to miss it!”

The show is just a little over two hours, but enjoyable all the way through with a “madcap comedic romp with a pretty ludicrous plot, but lots of silliness intertwined with an amazing score.”

This show presents a few different and unique challenges for the drama department apart from their previous productions. For example this show has a big tap number, which was a first for many students.

Since “Anything Goes” is a musical written in 1934, social norms and views have changed since then. 

However, Miller has taken the one-dimensional treatment of women and minorities shown in the play and fostered discussions with the young thespians about how best to tell the story with honesty and integrity.

“This unintentionally connects with one of the themes in the song ‘Anything Goes’ ... [that] times change and so does our perspective of the past, be it for better or worse,” she said.

In addition, the students are able to understand the characters better by getting a glimpse into the past. 

They think about how their characters would dress, act, dance and talk, or what kind of music would have been playing on the radio, what slang was used and what struggles characters would have.

“The latter is almost always eye-opening as we see that despite the differences, the similarities are also always there, even with fictional exaggerated characters,” Miller added.

Such as their previous production, “Back to the 80s” bridged the generation gap between the students and their parents, this production potentially bridges the gap to their grandparents or at least that time period.

Miller explained the line “You’re Ovaltine” in the song “You’re the Top” to the kids, since the drink is hardly known among today’s generation. She remembers drinking the chocolate milk mix at her grandparent’s house. 

The featured songs have also been a new favorite among kids. Cole Porter was a popular icon, along with Frank Sinatra. 

In fact, Porter’s song “Anything Goes” at the beginning of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was Miller’s first introduction to the song. After reviewing the rest of the musical, the decision to produce “Anything Goes” was done and decided.

Join the department for their last musical hurrah for the school year in “Anything Goes.” The production features a locally talented pit orchestra and many student crewmembers.

Cast list

Reno Sweeney — Olivia Mendez

Hope Harcourt — Rhiannon Skauge

Lord Evelyn Oakleigh — Evan Holty

Eli Whitney — Josh Newgaard

Billy Crocker — Gavin Thorson

Moonface Martin — Brody Christiansen

Erma — Emily Guberud

Evangeline Harcourt — Ashton Towne

Ruth – Tiffany Michaels

Esther—Jensen Krosch

Captain — Wyatt Spier

Purser — Hailey Borreson

Purity — Marah Mathison

Chastity — Ellie Mae Halverson

Charity -- Danika Holty

Virtue and Frieda — Ashlyn Hammel

Reporter – Kate Lamm 

FBI Agents: Celsey Cody and Caden Cody

Reverend Henry T. Dobson--Ty Cleven

Ensemble: Gina Lund, Caden Cody, Celsey Cody, Katie Lamm, Ashlyn Hammel, Marah Mathison, Tiffany Michels, Hailey Borreson, Danika Holty, Kennedy Bornholdt, Ellie Halverson, Alan Michels and Ty Cleven.

Directors/Producers

Director: Megan Miller

Choreographer: Skyler Erickson

Vocal Director: Mark Schroeder

Orchestra Director: Willy Leafblad

Costumes: Megan Miller and Terri Sontag

Stage Managers: Ashton Towne and Hailey Borreson

Dance Captain: Kennedy Bornholdt

T-Shirt Design: Robin Bartell

Program Design: Aimee Murphy

Set Construction

Haley Ardinger

Andrew Brumm

Kaitlin Dobosenski

Caia Ellis

Samuel Folstad

Olivia Gleason

Jacine Johanningmeier

Ariana Kampschroer

Tyler Kersten

Dominic Oehmigen

Matthew Tate

Crew list

Lights: Abby Towne

Sound: Alex Deters

Set crew: Maria Blaskowski

Pit Orchestra

Bekah Leafblad - Flute, Piccolo

Elena Myrah - Flute

Burt Svendsen - Alto Sax, Soprano Sax

Stephen Mann - Alto Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet

Kristine Jepsen - Clarinet

Fred Arnold - Trumpet

Eric Olson- Trombone

Sam Farnen - Trombone

Dan Raney - Bass Trombone

Kai Bjerke - Percussion

Wyatt Murphy - Percussion

Rachel Udstuen - Piano

Lane Zaffke - Violin

Nick Bjerke - Bass