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Theater department presents ‘Anything Goes’

Every year, the Drake University theatre department presents a fall and spring musical event. Last year’s fall musical was “A Little Night Music,” and the spring opera was “The Elixir of Love.” This year they are starting the season by putting on the classic musical “Anything Goes.”

Set in the 1930s, the show is centered on the chaotic yet colorful adventures of the passengers of the S.S. America. Young Billy Crocker comes to see his boss, Elisha J. Whitney, off on his business trip. Once there, Billy sees the beautiful Hope Harcourt, a young debutante engaged to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. Billy decides to sneak onboard the ship and try to win her over. With the help of some friends — Reno Sweeney, Bonnie and Moonface ‘Moony’ Martin — Billy gets himself onboard.

Once the ship leaves port, many things become complicated. Billy is forced to wear not one but several different disguises.  Public enemy number one, “Snake Eyes” Johnson, is rumored to be onboard. Reno tries to seduce Sir Evelyn Oakleigh. Billy and Moonface find themselves in the brig.

It is a sweet, surprising story with twists and songs to please all listeners. There is the ever-popular song “You’re the Top” between Reno and Billy along with the title song, “Anything Goes,” by Reno and the chorus. These sweet, jazzy tunes are just one of the reasons why the show has persevered for so long.

However, the show has been changed many times. The first original script involved the S.S. America being shipwrecked on an island. Yet, days before the premiere, the S.S. Morro Castle lost 138 passengers to a fire. Worried that the show would be considered insensitive, the writers frantically scrambled and revised the show. Thus, the title was born — during the late night hours the producer claimed “Anything Goes!”

Much like the play, this show has received a huge effort from the Drake theatre department. Auditions for the parts were held the first weekend of school and lasted the entire day. Since then, the students have been working tirelessly for this show. The set has been carefully prepared, the pit has been studiously practicing and the singers have been determinedly working.

The cast features senior Caitlin Teters as Reno, senior Kent Reynolds as Billy, senior Alyssa McKean plays Hoope Harcours, sophomore Grant Haase is Evelyn Oakleigh, senior Luke Tourville is Moonface, and junior Haley Sisler plays Bonnie. It also includes junior Cameron Reeves, senior Josh Osborn, sophomore Andrew Nyberg, senior Adam Meirink, junior Kyle Dvorak, sophomore Dane Van Brocklin, senior Samantha Arneson, senior Maura Gillespie, junior Katie Hahn, first-year Taylor Wiebers and junior Morgan Daniels.

“It looks like it’s going to be a really great show,” said sophomore Katie Fries, a musical theatre major. “There are so many great people, and it’s such a great play. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“Anything Goes” debuts Thursday night, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. It will be held in the Performing Arts Hall of the Fine Arts Center. The show will continue Nov. 9-10, Friday and Saturday night, also at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $4 for students who show an I.D. Adults will pay $6. For more information about tickets or performances, call the Drake Fine Arts Box Office at (515)271-3841.

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