Sometimes People Just Need Laughter in Their Lives

Sometimes People Just Need Laughter in Their Lives

Chantilly High presents rollicking, romantic musical, ‘Anything Goes.’

The cast waves goodbye during a rehearsal of the song, “Bon Voyage.”

The cast waves goodbye during a rehearsal of the song, “Bon Voyage.”

Featuring a cast of 50 and a crew of 25, Chantilly High’s Cappies entry, “Anything Goes,” is poised to burst upon the stage. The actors have been rehearsing this rollicking musical since January, and Director Andy Shaw says it’s bound to bring the audience happiness and joy.

“It’s a fun, romantic comedy, and I wanted us to do something lighter than our darker musicals of the last couple years,” he explained. “It’s also a large-cast, classic musical with big tap, ensemble and production numbers. And the students are a joy to work with; we have lots of quadruple threats who are dramatic and funny, as well as great dancers and vocalists.”

The story takes place in the 1930s aboard a luxury cruise ship and follows the love story of Billy Crocker and Hope Harcourt. Things are complicated, though, since she’s engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh because of the money and security he’ll bring her. And meanwhile, Oakleigh’s falling for a showgirl named Reno. Hilarity ensues before Hope and Billy can have their happy ending.

Show times are Thursday-Saturday, April 18, 19, 20, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, April 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17, adults; $10, students, at the door or via

Most of the scenes take place on the deck of a two-story cruise ship, and some happen in various characters’ rooms. “So the set has a dollhouse effect, opening up the ship to show the rooms inside,” said Shaw. “And our costume team researched the era to find the right clothes, wigs and costume designs for the characters. They even found some actual vintage pieces and are also making some new gowns that mimic the style of the ’30s.”

In addition, he said, “The music is great, with recognizable Cole Porter songs, plus brand-new ones. It’s one of the most well-respected and celebrated music scores and has a wide range of songs from romantic to lively and comedic to big production numbers. People will have a good time watching it, and sometimes in life, it’s just what we need to have – some laughter.”

Senior Bridget Dombro portrays showgirl Reno Sweeney, who’s the show’s lead actress but not the centerpiece of the plot. “She’s in cahoots with several of the characters to help out her friend Billy and make sure the romances for her and her friends all work out,” said Dombro. “She’s sultry and seductive but also witty, cunning and comedic. One of my favorite parts of her are all her quips.”

“In the beginning, she seems to have everything all figured out,” continued Dombro. “But as her feelings shift from Billy to Evelyn [pronounced eve-lynn], her façade drops a bit to show a more raw and sincere part of her. And I love her songs spanning from a slow, reflective – almost self-deprecating – solo to upbeat, full-cast performances.”

She especially likes the “Bon Voyage” number sung by everyone. “It’s the musical’s opening hurrah where you see every character,” said Dombro. “And it has such good energy as we’re celebrating this journey we’re about to take.”

She believes the show’s comedy will appeal to audiences the most and “give them a good laugh and a pick-me-up. And they’ll be astonished by the talent of everyone in the cast, plus the work of the directors – including Musical Director Evan Ayars and student director Rory Ketzle – and the technical team. And even beyond the show’s flashiness, people will enjoy seeing the actors’ dedication and realism in portraying their characters.”

Playing Billy Crocker is senior Will Sanfilippo. “He’s young, energetic and genuine, but can also be cunning, manipulative and slick,” said Sanfilippo. “He’s a stockbroker’s apprentice and is on the ship going from New York to London. He’s in love with Hope, so he snuck aboard to see her, instead of doing some work at home for his boss – who’s also on the ship.”

Sanfilippo loves his role because “Billy’s funny and has lots of great scenes and beautiful songs. Some really classic jazz standards from the early 20th century came from this show. And Billy’s a great character because, overall, he’s lighthearted but also has complex layers to him and particular reasons for his actions.”

Sanfilippo’s favorite song is “All Through the Night.” He sings the main part, along with others. “It’s different from Billy’s other songs because it’s joyful despite the character’s current, unfortunate situation on the ship that’s preventing him from being with Hope.”

He said audiences will enjoy this musical because “it’s an entertaining comedy with huge, song-and-dance numbers. There are lots of fun, character dynamics and relationships, and people will leave feeling happy.”

Senior Mckenzy Hopkins portrays Hope Harcourt, a debutante in her early 20s. “She’s caring, charming and has a bubbly personality with playful, youthful energy,” said Hopkins. “She’s protective of her loved ones and is also classy because she grew up with money.”

Basically, explained Hopkins, “Hope’s a sweet girl who just wants love. But her dad died, and her family lost its money, so her mother wants her to marry Evelyn – a guy who has money. Hope’s engaged to him, but she loves and wants to marry Billy, so she’s in a sticky situation.”

Thrilled with her part, Hopkins likes it because her character’s “in a bad spot but finds some light in it and still tries to make everyone happy. And she shows so many different emotions – from happy to heartbroken – that the audience gets to see her many sides.”

Hopkins especially likes the song, “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye,” which she sings. “It’s about her getting her heart shattered because she has to give up Billy,” she said. “And it’s special to me because the directors put a lot of time and energy into making me feel comfortable and confident singing this song. I love its emotion because Hope’s been taught to keep her walls up, and this song is her breaking point.”

She said people will love the energy this cast brings to the show. “The dance numbers are big highlights, and audiences will be blown away by the actors’ commitment to and groundedness in their characters,” said Hopkins. “The sets are incredible – audiences will be both surprised and amazed – and our costumes perfectly illustrate the time period.”

Playing Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a wealthy but strange Englishman, is senior Kai Obernberger. “He enjoys everything American and even writes down American expressions to learn them, but fails miserably when attempting to use them,” said Obernberger. “He tries to act like a proper Englishman, but makes some weird, whack statements and gets excited over odd things. And sometimes, he doesn’t register that this is his life that’s happening.”

“I’m having so much fun with this role because I get to do the weirdest laughs and most ridiculous sounds,” continued Obernberger. “It can be challenging because Evelyn has different relationships and ways of acting with every character. But I’m enjoying it because he’s just having fun, the whole time.”

His favorite song is “Drifter in Me,” which he sings. “Evelyn’s running all over the place and does a funny, silly dance to it,” said Obernberger. “And during the song, he blames his grandmother for his promiscuity with women.”

Obernberger said audiences will love this musical because “everyone in it gets a chance to be the comic relief. Even during a depressing scene, there’s always something lightening the mood. And the tap break during the ‘Anything Goes’ number is so cool, they’ll really enjoy watching it.”