Anything Goes at Oak Bay High next week

Production brings tongue-in-cheek musical to Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

Oak Bay High set sail on the SS American next week mired in the culture of the 1930s.

“This year the Oak Bay musical will be Anything Goes by Cole Porter which is a very bright, effervescent and tongue in cheek look back at the 1930s,” says director Heather-Elaine Day. “This is a great fun challenge for these students. This is an era that they have very little knowledge of. The post-depression, pre-World War Two years, it’s full of very strong female characters, very flippant references, high kicks and lots of fun.”

The cast and crew of 48 students are “handling it very well, they’re doing a great job,” Day says.

The 1934 musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, follows the antics aboard a cruiseship. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. The musical introduced such songs as “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You.”

“It is a big musical, every scene has at least two full production numbers in it and it’s a two and a half hour show so there’s a lot for these students to do.”

The big numbers are part of the draw for the young performers like Grade 11 students Leah Zack and Owen Chow.

“It’s really funny. There are a lot of good moments and teach character has their own type of humour which is really appealing,” Leah says.

“It’s very fast moving. You’re never going to be sitting in your seat (thinking) ‘Why did I come this is boring’. It’s always very exciting, lots of stuff is always happening,” Owen says.

Owen plays the overworked assistant to a “very busy boss” while busy trying to woo a lover. Leah is Reno Sweeney, an evangelist and night club singer who is “fairly infatuated with Billy who is fairly younger than her.” She’s not the lover he’s trying to win over who happens to be spoken for, all leading to the humour throughout. For Owen and Leah, the highlight is their grand duet.

“It’s so upbeat and uplifting from the beginning of the show you ease into it. You’re the Top it’s big and grand,” Leah says.

That youthful energy shines throughout the performance, according to Day.

“The enthusiasm of the cast has been extraordinary,” she says. “They’re so excited to do this production. They love getting on tap shoes and trying it for the first time.”

Oak Bay High presents the musical Anything Goes starting Feb. 23 in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre on Feb. 23, 24, 28 and March 1,2,3 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at the school, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd.

Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors, are available at Ivy’s Bookshop (2188 Oak Bay Ave.), The Shieling (3948 Cadboro Bay Rd.) and the Oak Bay High office.

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