VHS Theatre to Take on Comedy with ‘Anything Goes’

Pictured in front row left to right: Emily Towns (Erma Latour), Jacob Henderson (Moonface Martin). Standing left to right: Scott Gilbert (Elisha Whitney), Amelia Knedgen (Evangeline Harcourt), Kristin Gustavson (Reno Sweeney), Nik Zazula (Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Jess Schmidt (Billy Crocker), Jacqueline Hoard (Hope Harcourt).

By Sally Mayne

In mid March, audiences will be treated to some incredible talent as the Vicksburg High School theatre program performs the musical comedy “Anything Goes.” Known for its amazing music and choreography, the show is a classic age-old tale of boy-meets-girl and the complications which ensue aboard a magical ship where truly anything goes!

As the ship sets sail in this saucy Broadway musical, two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love, proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and of course good old-fashioned blackmail.

According to Melissa Sparks, director of school’s theatre program, “This production is an extremely challenging undertaking for our students. As a show written and created in 1934, it contains incredible Cole Porter music that requires legit singing, which can be considerably more difficult than the pop sound we often hear today. VHS Choir Director Dustin Morris is the vocal music director for the production and has done a great job working with the students as they prepare to perform these songs from the 1930s.”

The VHS band director, Ben Rosier, will conduct the orchestra comprised almost entirely of Vicksburg students, with Karla Stubblefield accompanying as pianist. Along with some new talent, audiences will see familiar faces from several of the last VHS productions, including Kristin Gustavson as Reno Sweeney, Jess Schmidt as Billy Crocker, Jacqueline Hoard as Hope Harcourt, Nik Zazula as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, Jacob Henderson as Moonface Martin and Emily Towns as Erma Latour.

One of the main reasons Sparks was so excited to do this production was the incredible dancing involved throughout the show. “It has dance routines featuring jazz, ballroom and the show-stopping tap dancing, I knew the choreography will ultimately wow the audience But it also creates challenges for my students which Vicksburg has never faced during my tenure here as director/choreographer.” Sparks went on to explain that she wanted her students to get the opportunity to explore the classical comedy style in this production. She noted, “Mel Brooks has told the story of going to see Anything Goes as a young child with this musical being the pivotal, decisive moment which shone the light for his future career in comedy as well as his work in musical theatre. I wanted my students to experience this comedy that has influenced the careers of so many through its 80-plus years in musical theatre.”

Mark your calendars and make reservations to attend one of the performances of this classic production to be held at Vicksburg Performing Arts Center on March 17, 18, 25 at 7 p.m. and March 26 at 2 p.m. To make reservations, please visit http://www.vicksburgcommunityschools.org/pac anytime or call the ticket office direct at 269-321-1193 beginning March 6. Order early and save money. Advanced tickets for Anything Goes are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for kids up to 12th grade. The day of the performance ticket prices increase by $2. Call the ticket office before March 10 for a special family rate of $30 (same household, minimum of 4 persons – maximum of 6).

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