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Scottdale's Geyer welcomes high seas fun with 'Anything Goes'

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
Linda Harkcom | For The Independent-Observer
Cast members of Actors and Artists of Fayette County's 'Anything Goes' rehearse one of the big dance numbers from the show. Those pictured are (from left) Eric Westerman, 16, of South Huntington; Amber Kaska, 18, of West Newton; Brittany Cardella, 19, of Madison, and Sidney Popielarcheck, 18, of Washington.

High seas hijinks will take place on the Geyer Performing Arts Center stage this weekend when Actors and Artists of Fayette County presents ”Anything Goes.”

Director Tracy Kelley said she chose the show, because she had directed it at Yough High School in the past and wanted to do the show again.

“I love the tap in the show. Tap sounds and just looks amazing, even if it's just the simplest steps,” Kelley said.

The popular Cole Porter musical, which won the Tony for Best Revival of a musical in 2011, takes place aboard the S.S. American.

Billy Crocker, a stowaway, is in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, but she is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer and former evangelist Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin, who is posing as a minister, aid Crocker in trying to win her heart. A series of comical mistaken identities ensues as the passengers and crew sing and dance their way across the Atlantic.

Kelley said the majority of the cast of 28 is very young with a few exceptions.

The cast is led by Sydney Popielarcheck, who plays Reno. Popielarcheck, 18, of Washington, may be a newcomer to the Geyer stage, but she has an extensive theater background. She has studied for 12 years at the Pittsburgh CLO Academy in its Preprofessional program and performed with the CLO Ministars, as well as in three main stage productions with the Pittsburgh CLO. She plans to further her training this fall at California University of Pennsylvania where she will study Musical Theater and Public Relations.

Popielarcheck said when she found the audition notice online, she knew she had to try out because it is her favorite show.

“I love that I get to tap. There are three big song and dance numbers, and I really think they will keep the audience interested,” Popielarcheck said.

Rebekah Laughlin of Smithfield will portray Hope Harcourt. Laughlin described her character as a rich debutante, who is in love with someone other than her fiance.

She said she loves that the show is set in the 1930s.

“It's a glitzy and glamorous time, and it's very classic Broadway with big classy dance numbers and it's funny too,” Laughlin said.

Kait Nedrow, 19, of Dunbar, plays Purity, one of Reno's angels. She said while the show has a lot of comedic moments there also are some serious moments.

“But they are always followed up with a little bit of comic relief,” Nedrow said.

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the show are $12 and available online at Geyer welcomes high seas fun or by calling 724-887-0887. Dinner theater is available by calling Miss Martha's Tea Room at 724-887-6574.

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.