'Anything Goes' sings with high-seas hilarity in Aurora
There's something magical about seeing a vintage show come to life, when yesterday's classic is transformed into a fresh-yet-familiar masterpiece by talented new performers.
That would certainly describe the upcoming Winter Stage performance of "Anything Goes," set for four performances Friday through Sunday, Jan. 11-13, at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora.
If you go
What: Fox Valley Park District Winter Stage production of "Anything Goes"
When: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11-13
Where: Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora
Details: www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org or (630) 859-8606
"This show will feature some of the best theater talent we've assembled in 11 years of Winter Stage performances," said Kyle Donahue, performing arts manager.
The cast of 40 performers range in age from 7 to 76, with lead roles played by adults, teens and even some of the youngest in the cast. Collectively, they blend their talents to create a lighthearted, fluffy show of catchy tunes, romance and hilarity.
"The show is really all about the characters," said Donahue. "They are lovable, funny characters who draw the audience in and make you like them — you'll even be rooting for them."
Ironically, the scene is set during the Depression era of the early 1930s, but the dance-happy show lends a tone of musical comedy bliss as if to say, "Who, me? Worry?"
"Anything Goes" is set aboard the ocean liner S.S. American, where nightclub singer/evangelist Reno Sweeney (played by Allison Elkins) is en route from New York to England. Her pal Billy Crocker (Jake Elkins, Allison's brother in real life) has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt (Maddie Weber). Problem is, Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (Fabian Guerrero).
Joining this love triangle on board the luxury liner is Moonface Martin (Jake Ziman). With the help of some elaborate disguises, tap-dancing sailors and good old-fashioned blackmail, Reno and Martin join forces to help Billy in his quest to win Hope's heart.
The high jinks begin with a host of mistaken identities as Moonface, disguised as a cleric, gets the true reverend arrested. Stowaway Billy needs to assume all sorts of disguises to avoid the ship's captain (Dave Dobes), the purser (Taylor Dobes) and his boss, Elisha Whitney (Chuck Taylor, the aforementioned 76-year-old), who assumes he has left the ship to sell some shaky stocks for him.
The choreography and the cast and dancer's enthusiasm will keep the audience's toes tapping — as will the musical lineup of Cole Porter classic — many of these songs made famous by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald such as "You're the Top!" "Anything Goes," and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow," along with revivals of "Easy to Love," "Friendship," "It's De-Lovely" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."
Those tunes will sound great on Prisco's new sound system and its upgraded, permanent stage lighting that will enhance the quality of the audience's experience.
Tickets are $7 and available at the Prisco Community Center. New this year is reserved seating, so don't delay. Book passage on "Anything Goes," and you'll be sitting in first class.
•Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. For ticket information, call the Prisco Center at (630) 859-8606.
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