MOUNT VERNON — “All aboard!” the captain of the cruise ship exclaims. Women in their cloché hats and men in their form-fitting suits stride onto the massive boat. The year is 1934, and it is the perfect day to begin journeying on a relaxing voyage from Manhattan to England.
Or so one would think. ...
The musical, produced and performed by the Mount Vernon Nazarene University drama program, plays at 8 p.m. today and Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 8 p.m. on May 2 and 3; and 2 p.m. on May 4. All shows are in the Thorne Performance Auditorium of the R.R. Hodges Chapel on the MVNU campus.
A tale of romance, comedy and deception, “Anything Goes” was written by Cole Porter in the early 1930s. It is said that the musical was given its name while the overworked production team was trying to figure out how to finish the first act. In frustration, one of the producers responded, “Anything goes!”
The set was designed by producer and director Leah Andrews and was built by her father, Steve Stone, and her husband, Mike Andrews. Costumes depict the fashion ideals of the time period. The play features student acting, dancing and singing, coached by musical director Elizabeth Barrett.
Lead roles performed by Mary Stoughton (Reno Sweeney), Veronica Grimm (Bonnie), Rachel Smart (Hope Harcourt), Cody Thomas (Evelyn Oakleigh), Brian Munson (Moonface Martin) and Ethan Briggs (Billy Crocker) engage the audience.
“I play Reno Sweeney, and she’s very saucy and sultry,” said Stoughton, a drama major. “It’s fun to play those kinds of characters because it’s so different from what I am in real life.”
Munson, who is another drama major, plays the role of “Moonface Martin,” whom he describes as “an inept Brooklyn gangster.”
“I’ve never had to talk like I’m from Brooklyn before ... or pretend to be a gangster,” Munson said. “It’s been really fun; it’s made me stretch myself having to act in a way I definitely don’t normally act, but it’s gonna be goofy, and I really enjoy that.”
Zac Sherman, a supporting actor in “Anything Goes,” also enjoyed being a part of the production this year.
“It has been a wonderful experience for me,” said Sherman, who plays a Chinese man named Ling.
“The cast are marvelous people to act with and our directors Leah Andrews and professor Elizabeth Barrett have been wonderful to work with,” Sherman said. “You can really tell that they care about the students and put a hundred percent into the production.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this production,” Barrett said.
“I believe we have all grown into a nice team, and it is always so rewarding to see people working together and helping one another.”
Andrews, who has been leading the drama program for only a year, was excited to work with the students.
“I adore them!” Andrews said. “They are hilarious and entertaining; I can’t count how many times I’ve teared up laughing at them.
“But more than that, they are such hard workers and so dedicated. I am utterly amazed at each of them, and I am so proud,” Andrews said. Tickets are available or by calling 397-9000, ext. 1620.
Published on April 25, 2013