ACMO’s production of Anything Goes plays this week at Claire Performance Hall in The Winter Center from March 22 – 25. Millersville’s All Campus Musical Organization, or ACMO, is prided on it’s completely student led cast and creative team. Since the program is entirely student driven, it gives the individuals involved a chance to get new theatre experiences while also having an incredible time.
This year’s musical is the Cole Porter classic, Anything Goes. This toe tapping evening of theatrical bliss is set on an ocean liner called The SS American, and centers around a nightclub singer named Reno Sweeney who has feelings for the character of Billy Crocker (Matt Meckley). Billy Crocker, though, is really in love with a young woman named Hope Harcourt (Laura Lanis). Also involved in the story is Moonface Martin. Moonface Martin is a gangster on the ship who is helping Billy get the love of his life. The plot may sound complicated, but it really is just an excuse for the infectious music and joyful dance numbers. The cast has been having a blast rehearsing this classic material.
“It has been a lot of fun seeing all the different characters come together for all the big dance scenes,” according to Ana Sica who plays Chastity.
“The first musical I ever performed in was Anything Goes and being involved with this particular production has been a full circle experience,” Trent Soto says, who portrays Moonface Martin.
This musical is known for its extravagant tap dance sequences. “Learning to tap dance, has been harder, but also easier than I thought it would be,” says Curtis Hall, who is tap dancing for the first time in this show. ACMO veteran Ana Pederson, has actually tap danced in a musical before but being in this show has given her a different perspective and appreciation for dance.
This musical does take place in the 1930s, and getting into the world of the show has been a fun challenge for the cast and the creative team.
According to Hall, “Lots of the things and jokes the characters say, we do not understand, but we have to make sense of that for ourselves and then for audience.”
This also extends to the production’s director and co-choreographer, Ariana Horn, who has put much emphasis on the speech cadence and style of the 1930s period.
According to Horn, “The people in the 30s in this show talk in a more sophisticated fashion, and even in how the men carry themselves is much different than they do today.” Getting the style of the period right brings an authenticity that carries through the whole production.
Although this musical takes place in a very specific period, the world of this show is ultimately extremely heightened and is a true escape. Anything Goes is a welcome departure from last year’s edgier musical Heathers.
“Although it is fun to be in an edgy show, it is comforting to be in a show that the whole family can see” says Trent Soto. The cast and crew are also excited to have older people come to the show and feel nostalgia for their younger days.
This show is also a chance for ACMO to inspire Millersville students and the public with their talent and great entertainment. Matt Meckely hopes that this production “inspires Millersville students to get into theatre and go see shows.” Last year’s musical Heathers, got a great reception, and the whole cast and creative team believes that audiences will embrace this classic musical just as much as they did with the edgier Heathers.
Ariana Horn is now a junior and has seen the ACMO program get bigger every year. Horn is making her directing debut with Anything Goes. ACMO has given students like Ariana a chance to try new experiences like directing and choreographing in an extremely open and accepting environment. This year’s production of Anything Goes is sure to be a true winner for the program, and one that will leave audiences with a smile on their face and a song in their hearts.
Tickets may be purchased online at MUTiketsOnline.com or artsMU.com, by calling 717-871-7600, or inn person at the Student Memorial Center Ticket Office. Tickets will also go on sale at the door beginning one hour prior to show time at the venue. Early reservations are strongly encouraged.