Shelly West Thompson considers several factors when selecting Marion’s annual musical. One of the most important aspects of her decision centers around one question: Does the show fit the cast?
Thompson believes that she found a perfect match for this year’s musical in “Anything Goes,” a Cole Porter production that made its Broadway debut in 1934. Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. Tickets are $10 and go on sale to the public on Feb. 28. This year’s production also includes a new wrinkle. Tap dancing, lots of tap dancing.
“I chose it because we haven’t done a tap show in a long time and the kids wanted to do a tap show,” Thompson said. “I also chose it because it has a lot of roles and I know that I had the students to fill them. I had the right kids.”
Potential cast members, including many with no tap experience, got an early start on this year’s production. “We started tap lessons in September,” Thompson said. “I taught them the basics and we just took it from there.”
Senior Ryan O’Leary, who plays the role of Moonface Martin, is participating in his fourth musical. He did a little big of tapping in “Beauty and the Beast” as a ninth grader, but it was nothing like the amount involved in his current role.
“It has been a great time learning to tap and hopefully I can keep on tapping later on in life,” O’Leary said. “You have to be on beat. If you can’t get in rhythm, you aren’t going anywhere.”
Senior Jacob Couperous was a member of the stage crew last year and joined choir this fall in hopes of participating in the musical. He is playing the role of Elisha Whitney.
“It’s a new experience and it’s given me a better view on things,” Couperus said. “I am usually coming at things from the sports side, but this has been so much fun being here with my buddies and my girlfriend.”
As for the tapping?
“It challenged me, it’s hard,” he said. “But Frau just makes it look like we are walking on water, she’s amazing.”
Senior Faith Rinella is in her sixth musical and plays Reno Sweeney, an evangelist turned nightclub singer.
“She’s very brassy and she’s very blunt,” Rinella said. “She tells it like it is and is unapologetically her.”
Senior Mia Little is in her fifth musical and is playing debutante Hope Harcourt. The role presents a bit of a challenge for Little, who normally sings alto, because it is a soprano part but she is finding her range.
“My favorite part about Hope is that she is connected to Billy (played by Noah Hamill), and he is one of my best friends,” Little said.
Alan Cruz described himself as a “shy kid” when he joined musical in eighth grade and the experience has helped him to “get outside of my box.” He is cast in the role of Lord Evelyn Oakley, Hope’s wealthy and eccentric fiancé, this spring.
“It’s pretty fun,” Cruz said. “I get to dance around and make a fool of myself.”
The musical has become such a large part of the community and cast members are grateful to the support they have received and the bonds they have forged through the years.
“It was just an overall good experience,” Rinella said. “I got to work with a ton of different people, play a bunch of different characters and do a lot of dancing.”
Performances of “Anything Goes” are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. Tickets cost $10 and will be available to the general public beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Presale tickets can be purchased the following ways: • In the High School foyer on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30pm on Feb. 28, March 2, March 7 and March 9, At a ticket table at the West Door to the parking lot (Door 16) from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on March 1, March 2, March 6, March 7 and March 8, At the door before each show, Will-call tickets (to be paid and picked up either at any of the later sale times or at the door) will be available by emailing: email@example.com starting Feb. 28. Please note that priority for ticket sales each day will be given to in-person sales and will-call seats will be put aside in the evening.