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“Anything Goes” at Watertown High School


Watertown High School Select Choir members aren’t letting tap dancing defeat them.

The Select Choir, led by school music director Russell J. Faunce, will stage the Cole Porter classic “Anything Goes” Thursday, Nov. 21, through Saturday, Nov. 23, with a special luncheon and show for senior citizens on Thursday, Nov. 21.

“It’s got a 1920s, 1930s feel and a lot of tap dancing,” said senior Austin C. Myers, who plays Billy Crocker, before a recent rehearsal. “A lot of us, including myself, have never tap danced. That’s probably the most difficult part.”

But the progress of the tap dancers has impressed choreographer David A. Simmons.

“It’s just intricate, small steps,” he said. “Most of them are getting it quite quickly. It’s impressive to see them go on the first day of, ‘I’m going to do that?’ to now. One of the big challenges is the tempo; keeping that same tempo as everyone.”

“Anything Goes” is set on a cruise ship. It tells the story of playboy Billy Crocker, who has stowed away on the ship in order to woo his girlfriend away from a stuffy British suitor. Complicating the plot is a host of strange characters, including English noblemen, American gangsters, Chinese missionaries and a female evangelist turned nightclub singer.

Songs include “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “It’s DeLovely” and the title song.

“The story has got kind of a little plot twist at the end,” said senior Genny Wise, who plays stuffy heiress Mrs. Hope Harcourt. “But you can see it coming. I think it’ll make the audience happy what happens at the end.”

The show’s original book was by British humorist P.G. Wodehouse with Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It later was revised by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman.

“It’s funny and more laid back than some of the shows we’ve done in the past, like ‘Phantom’ and ‘Miss Saigon,’” Mr. Myers said. “They were big, high-stress shows.”

In 2012, Mr. Faunce and Select Choir members staged “Phantom of the Opera” and “Miss Saigon” only six weeks apart.

Mr. Faunce said he staged “Anything Goes” at Watertown High School in 1987. Cole Porter’s music appeals to him more than other classic Broadway composers, such as Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein.

“I just think the songs are more singable,” he said. “They’ve got a little bit of jazz in them.”

The audience also will have a good time, said Marley N. James, who recently moved to the school district from southern California.

“They’ll be talking about the immense amount of talent we have in the community,” she said.

Miss James, in the “Anything Goes” chorus, said she lived in a much smaller community than Watertown and was pleased to see the performing opportunities here.

“It’s just a phenomenal thing to see,” she said.

the details
WHAT: Watertown High School Select Choir presents “Anything Goes” at the high school, 1335 Washington St.
WHEN: Performances kick off at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, with a show for senior citizens. A free luncheon will follow at 3:15 p.m. Any senior citizen can come to the show for free but the luncheon is for seniors who live in the Watertown City School District. Tickets are limited. To reserve luncheon tickets, district residents should call the district office at 785-3700.
Evening shows: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, through Saturday, Nov. 23
COST: Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens
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