JANESVILLE—Life can be very serious and sometimes dark, even for high school students.
That’s why those in the Janesville School District summer school performance of “Anything Goes” are enjoying being part of a whimsical show full of toe-tapping tunes and slapstick humor.
The show is said to be about a girl on a boat, but it’s so much more than that, said Jan Knutson, the show’s co-music director. There’s also comedy, dancing, chaos and a lot of fun, she said.
The musical, which made its Broadway debut in 1934, follows two men and two women caught in a tangled love web onboard a boat. The adventure is dotted with hijinks and song as the love web unravels.
Kendyl Van Kirk, a Parker High School student who plays Reno, said the show is different from any she has done before. It’s a perfect mix of acting, singing and lots and lots of dancing, Van Kirk and her peers said.
Morgan Stengel, a Craig High School student who plays Hope, said the show is lighthearted and is a change of pace from the last two shows in which she has performed—“Sweeny Todd” and “Into the Woods.”
Directors in the Janesville summer school program have wanted to do the show for a long time, Knutson said.
“It’s a classic,” she said.
“Everyone needs to do ‘Anything Goes’ at least once in their life,” said Sean McGlynn, a Stoughton High School student who shares the role of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh with Parker student Nolan Limones.
The show takes place entirely on a boat, allowing the technical crew to build a stage unlike any the students have used before.
The set feels like a giant park, Limones said.
Students from all school districts are welcome to audition for the shows, which serve as an enrichment course for Janesville’s summer school, Knutson said.
McGlynn was nervous to join the performance as a non-Janesville student, but his reservations soon dissipated, he said.
The students described the cast as a family, and they already dread the day they have to part from one another.
“Reuniting a cast is one of the best things ever,” Van Kirk said.
Performing a musical is a team effort, Limones said. Students walk away from the summer with a new understanding of how to work with others.
Van Kirk hopes audiences appreciate the show and continue to support the arts.
When McGlynn sees a live theater performance, he feels inspired by its magic. He hopes his performance can give that feeling to others, he said.