Times and Tickets
"Anything Goes" will be staged Wednesday through Saturday, May 1-4, at 7:30 p.m. at West Springfield High School, located at 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children and senior citizens. For ticket reservations, call (703) 913-3934.
"Anything Goes," written by Guy Bolton, Howard Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, originally graced Broadway stages in 1934, became an off-Broadway hit in 1962 and took its most recent curtain call in a Tony-nominated run in 1987.
"It's a romantic comedy set on a ship," said senior Jessica Chesnutt, who is co-student director with senior Stephanie Shaw, of the show. "It has a love triangle with Billy, Hope and Evelyn. It's funny."
The show features the jazz-era music of Cole Porter, lots of tap dancing and other musical staples. West Springfield's production will run from Wednesday, May 1, to Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. each evening.
"I think the show is going to be awesome. We have some really strong, well-rounded performers. The dancing is going to be amazing. It's going to be a breakthrough," said senior Melissa Wilmoth, one of the show's lead actresses. "It's got a patriotic theme, sort of symbolic of Sept. 11, showing our patriotism and love of country."
Though theater director Mary Jo Levesque immediately loved the music, she still wasn't sure "Anything Goes" was the right show for West Springfield. She got the idea to go for a star-spangled spin on the show when she was trying to choose a musical back in September.
"I was in the car a couple days afterwards and I decided I needed to be cheered up and I put the "Anything Goes" tape in the car cassette player. It happened to start at this song called, "Take Me Back to Manhattan." The lyrics talk about a girl who really misses New York and the New York that she knew," said Levesque. "When I heard that all I could think of was, 'This is the answer to what they did to New York.'"
Though "Anything Goes" does not necessarily sing red, white and blue as written, Chesnutt thinks the all-American angle works with the show.
"It's the kind of show that it [the patriotic theme] easily fits," said Chesnutt. "It's of a simpler time. Everything's idealistic."
With many school groups vying for use of the stage, the drama department wasn't able to start working there until mid-March.
"We've had very little time to put this show together, but the people we have are really good at what they do," said Levesque. "We have a lot of senior leadership. They are team players and they are working together. It's such a beautiful thing to see."
THE TEAM of students working on "Anything Goes" are very positive about their upcoming musical.
"The dances look really, really good. I think we're ahead of schedule," said Chesnutt. "We have to work with a couple of actors on accents because we have one British character and two from New York."
On top of preparing the spring musical, West Springfield's drama department also attended the recent Northern Virginia Theater Festival and placed third out of 13 teams. Among the individuals recognized were Billy Henline with first place in literary merit for his original one-act, "Flood the Mississippi," Meg Mahoney with first place in costume design and Heidi Foland with first place in program and poster design. Additionally, West Springfield's one-act team, performing "Property Rites," placed second at the Virginia High School League district level competition.
The drama department also held workshops for Washington Irving Middle School drama students in tech, improvisation, monologue, Cappies and dance.
"I'm really proud of them. I think they are the best kids I've ever had," said Levesque. "I've just been given all these gifts and I'm really, really lucky to be where I am."