THS actors to stage musical this week
The curtain is ready to go up on "Anything Goes."
Tonganoxie High School students will present the Cole Porter musical at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the high school.
The play, written by Noel Coward, tells the story of Billy Crocker, played by Eli Jones, a stowaway on board the S.S. American, who is in love with Hope Harcourt, played by Sarah Larson. Unfortunately, Hope is on her way to England to marry her finace. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, played by Paula Prosser, comes to Billy's aid.
The showed opened in New York City in 1934 and became the fourth longest-running musical of the 1930s. It was made into a movie in 1936, starring Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby.
The musical is filled with popular songs by Cole Porter, including, "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," "It's De-Lovely" and "Anything Goes."
Steve Harrell, THS drama teacher who's directing the musical, said this was a good play for this year's students.
"We've got several girls that are seniors that have been involved in dance quite a while," Harrell said. "We thought that would give them the opportunity to explore that part of the theater side for them to choreograph numbers and teach numbers to other kids."
And, Harrell said, when choosing the play, he kept in mind singers in Joyce Steeby's vocal music classes. And, as in previous high school musicals, THS band director Charles VanMiddlesworth was eager to set up a stage band to accompany the singers.
While staging a musical would be daunting for most people, Harrell pretty much takes the technical part of that in stride.
For him, the biggest challenge was scheduling rehearsals so students could be there.
"We've worked around fall sports quite a bit," Harrell said. "We have at least one member on the volleyball team. ... There's cross country and a couple of football players, kids involved in the debate program and other music things -- we've worked around a lot of those kind of school things."
Cast members worked together building the set, handling publicity and box office and costumes, Harrell said.
"And we've also got a few students that just wanted to be involved and they don't want to be on the stage," Harrell said. "They just wanted to help out."
While Harrell, who has worked in the district for 16 years, is accustomed to the school's stage, he said he's looking forward to two years from now when he can direct plays and musicals in a new auditorium, which will be constructed as part of a bond issue that voters approved last fall.
"That's exciting, it really is," Harrell said. "It will be so different than what we are accustomed to around here that I can't even venture to guess what it's going to be like."
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