Each show ‘better than the last’ with Anything Goes
This year, with the help of over 200 hardworking and dedicated students and adults, and a budget of approximately 20,000 dollars, the ARHS Theatre Department put on the musical Anything Goes.
The show was performed in the ARHS auditorium on the first weekend in March.
It is estimated that 2,000 people attended the performance over the course of those three days.
The story of Anything Goes takes place almost entirely on a cruise ship traveling from New York to London.
It is centered around a man named Billy Crocker, who falls in love with a woman out of his league.
Many of the characters are onboard either for love or to escape something. Inevitably during the voyage, “hilarity ensues,” English and theater teacher and director John Bechtold said.
The play is similar to the Shakespeare piece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Going for a classic show, Mr. Bechtold said he chose this musical because post-presidential election, “I wanted to create a show where everybody onstage and the audience could let go and have fun.”
Mr. Bechtold said that the ultimate goal was not just to put on a great production, but also to bring people together to work on a common project. “There is no other project at the school that involves so many students and different skillsets,” he said.
The set was an “Art Deco style cruise ship that was simple but enough to hold every chorus member,” said student tech director Sara Levy. “There were huge colorful arches in the background and the ship was built with forced linear perspective so that the set seemed bigger than it was.”
Overall, the show received nothing but positive reviews. “It was even better than last year,” said ARHS senior and audience member Isola Murray.”
Senior audience member Avery Clotfelter thought the acting was a strength. “People [who used] accents like Moonface Martin managed to maintain their voice throughout the play which was impressive. People had chance to relax and enjoy themselves.”
Murray said, “It was really great seeing my friends and classmates up there; you could tell they were having fun!”
Both Murray and Clotfelter loved Sir Evelyn Oakleigh played by Louis Triggs.
Clotfelter said, “My favorite part by far was when Louis says, ‘I say, might I have a go?’ and then describes his weird romance with an old lady [during a scene of people confessing their sins].”
ARHS English teacher, mother, and audience member Sara Barber-Just said, “This is the first musical that my 10 year old twin sons were able to sit through from start to finish.”
Ms. Barber-Just’s kids “loved Moonface Martin.”
At one point, impressed by students’ maturity and talent, they asked, “Are all these people really in high school?”
Lead actress Fiona Herter, played “evangelist turned night club singer” Reno Sweeney.
“The musical was the most intense show I’ve ever done. Between character analysis, dancing, and learning melodies I did as much work out of rehearsal as in rehearsal,” said Herter.
In addition to three-hour rehearsals five days a week, Herter played the part in school for a week, dressing as her character and practicing her dialect and “Reno posture.”
In the end, all the work paid off.
“The show was a complicated mess of extreme energy and fun. We had three really good nights and although everyone was tired for the matinee, it was still strong and that says a lot about the cast,” said Herter.
Mr. Bechtold agreed, saying, “Each show was better than the last.