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'Anything Goes' gives Norwin Theatre Club a chance to shine

| Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star Bonnie (Paige Overly) in a dance number with the Purser (Davion Heron), Lord Evelyn Oakley (Luke Egan), the Captain (Connor Kaye), Moonface (Tyler Klass), Billy (Isaac Meyers) and Elisah J. Whitney (Mike Repicky). The story takes place on board an ocean liner, the S.S. America, bound from New York to London. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, the musical introduced such hits songs as the title song, 'Anything Goes' and 'I get a Kick Out of You'. Dates for the 2014 Norwin Spring Musical are March 20-23 at the high school.

There's no shortage of productions from which to choose when selecting a spring musical, said Lauren McCurdy, the co-director of productions by the Norwin High School Theatre Club.

But not just any show will do.

“We've got so many talented kids involved in theater, so we try to select bigger productions that allow us to feature a large cast and chorus,” said McCurdy, noting that there are 70 students in the cast.

This year's show, which is co-directed by choreographer Erin Shrader, is a revised version of the classic Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes,” which was an instant hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1934.

The version of the show Norwin selected was a revival performed on Broadway in 1987 featuring Patti Lupone, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Reno Sweeney.

“We picked that version because some of the tag lines and jokes are more accessible,” McCurdy said. “We also liked the music that was rewritten from the original version, as well as the longer dance pieces.”

Senior Emily Welsh, 18, who is portraying the character Hope Harcourt, said she was drawn to the musical because of the period in which it takes place.

“From the fashion to the music, I personally love the 1930s and '40s era,” said Welsh, of North Huntingdon. “There have been so many great productions of ‘Anything Goes' in the past, but it's really been fun to take the script and just keep working with it until we make it our own.”

The story about the madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London also has given the technical crew directed by Todd Leighty an opportunity to display its stagecraft skills, McCurdy said.

“We're very excited about the set that's being built for this show,” she said. “The students in the crew have put together a beautiful ship that I think is pretty impressive.”

Senior Kyley Klass, who is portraying Reno, said playing an older character has been challenging.

“I'd say Reno is in her 40s, so I've had to work on getting comfortable playing an older person, but it's been a lot of fun,” said Klass, 18 of North Huntingdon.

And while the pacing of the dance and vocal numbers has been “physically difficult,” Klass is excited about the progression of the show during rehearsals.

“I've been involved in every show since I started high school and feel that this show has definitely come together the quickest of all of them,” she said.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626 or at tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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