Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tap dancing, choreography featured in "Anything Goes" Feb. 21-23 at MGRHS


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – For the first time in three decades, toes will be tapping sharply and in tune as “Anything Goes,” the venerable musical farce scored by one-time Williamstown resident Cole Porter, lights up the stage for three nights next week at Mount Greylock Regional High School.

The musical – featuring choreographed tap-dancing, a 20-member student cast and about 20 of the best-known and most beloved songs in American theater – will be staged Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1, at 7 p.m. at the regional high school. Tickets at the door are $8 for adults, $6 for students and admission is free for children six and under accompanied by parent or guardian. The show runs a little over two hours, including an intermission, during which baked goods and refreshments will be sold.

“I don’t want to use the world wholesome because it makes it sound kind of square,” says history teacher Jeff Welch, who is directing the musical with the help of chorus teacher Marlene Walt and band teacher Lyndon Moors. “But it’s certainly a family show – and it’s the first time we’ve had tap dancing is at least 30 years, I think.”

Walt called the show in one interview “peppy, fun, American classic . . . it’s very memorable, very singable.”

To undertake the “more intriquet choreography than anything we’ve done in a long time,” said Welch, MGRHS senior Sofia Brooks wrote a grant application to the school-support “SEE Fund” – part of the Berkshire-Taconic Foundation – to fund the hiring of choreographer Anne-Marie Rodriguez and rental of tap-dancing equipment.
MGRHS – Anything Goes
Feb. 18, 2008
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Cole Porter scored “Anything Goes” for its original 1934 Broadway debut. It’s a farce set below decks on an ocean liner bound for London from New York. The plot features a lovesick Wall Street broker Billy Crocker (played by Chris Densmore), who stows away, hoping to win the heart of his beloved Hope Harcourt (Lizzy Fox). But his boss is also on board, along with an array of other characters, including an English nobleman Harcourt is slated to marry, a gangster and his mistress, (disguised as a minister and missionary) and an evangelizing nightclub singer.

“Anything Goes,” was revived in 1962 and 1987. The 1934 debut featured a 30ish Ethel Merman as evangelizing nightclub singer Reno Sweeney (played at MGRHS by Anna Swann-Pye). The original script was a collaboration of Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, as revised by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. It introduced such songs as "Anything Goes", “Blow Gabriel, Blow,” “Friendship”, "You're the Top", and "I Get a Kick Out of You.”

A Jan. 24 appeal for a pianist to help with the production resulted in Williamstown resident Laurie Brenner, parent of MGRHS senior Torrey Brenner, volunteering, said Welch.

Cole Porter was born in Indiana in 1991, son of wealth parents. As a boy he took lessons in piano and violin, and began writing songs while at Worcester Academy. He attended Yale College (Class of 1913), where he composed still-used football fight songs. After graduating, he went on to Harvard Law School, but began studying music instead.

In the 1930s he became famous and prosperous with the success of his musicals. In 1937, however, Porter's life took a tragic turn when both of his legs were crushed by a horse, leaving him unable to walk and in chronic pain. Porter and his wife purchased a home on Buxton Hill in Williamstown in 1940. He died in Santa Monica, Calif. on Oct. 15, 1964.

The complete cast includes (males): Collin Delano as Elisha Whitney, Chris Densmore as Billy Crocker, Ryan Erickson as bishop/captain/purser, Mitch Galli as Moonface Martin, Patrick Madden as Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. Also, (females): Lizzie Fox as Hope Harcourt, Anna Swann-Pye as Reno Sweeney, Olivia Tousignant-Pienkos as Bonnie andGwendolyn Tunnicliffe as Ms. Wadsworth T. Harcourt.

The ensemble includes Amanda Burdick, Dakota Garrity, Molly Hynes, Krista Mangiardi, Sarah Robinson, Cassandra Sherman, Johanna Tremblay and Tori Wonderlick. Angels are played by Ally Allen, Isabel Kaufman and Petra Mijanovic.

For more information or to order group tickets, contact Jeff Welch at 458-9582 ext. 109, or Lyndon Moors at ext. 167 or email jpwelch@mgrhs.org.


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