classic musical helps build dramatic community
Anything Goes – the musical involving zany antics aboard an ocean liner sailing for London – will soon be performed at the Heyde Center on July 19-21, using the 60’s revision. Every summer, the Heyde puts on a community musical to get the whole Valley involved, and acting interest has apparently grown steadily in these performances, with calls about auditions starting long before opening night. The planning for Anything Goes began about a year ago. After the community play last summer, the tech crew discussed the type of play they would like to do for this summer. They’ve been practicing since mid-May, since this performance is heavy on both song and dance, requiring much coordination and choreography. One challenge will be the size of the stage at the Heyde Center, a mere 20’ by 30’. Even those with significant dancing experience will struggle with the size of the dancing floor, according to a staff member.
This performance boasts a completely local troupe of about 43 cast members, ranging from young kids trying out acting for the first time to seasoned experts in the community theater ballgame.
Anything Goes takes place in the 1930s, making it a trip into the past. Director Nancy Scobee says a challenge is that now that we are in 2013, many of the actors are further removed from the time period that the play is placed in, meaning they can’t grab clothes from their grandmothers’ closets to play the parts, but rather might need to head to Goodwill for supplies.
This performance boasts a completely local troupe of about 43 cast members, ranging from young kids trying out acting for the first time to seasoned experts in the community theater ballgame. This mix of ages and skill levels makes for a fun, community-building experience. Scobee attempts to make the performance as inclusive as possible by holding open auditions and allowing as many people as possible to get involved. She will even use walk-ons during the performance that add to the ambience, giving even more Valley natives an opportunity to dip into their inner artiste.
Scobee says the challenge of every theater performance is “getting the best performance out of every single performer on stage.” She wants them to come to life and bring their own interpretations to the characters that they play. The latest challenge that she places on herself as a director is to get the actors to perform better than they ever have, and look better than they ever have. Scobee has this philosophy because she believes that a show is only as good as its weakest performer. Therefore, walk-ons have to be as true to life as the lead.
Scobee has been working with theater for about 50 years, working closely with musical director Jerry Way for 45 of those years. After graduating from UW-Eau Claire, Scobee taught high school and started directing shows, moving from performance to directing. She says she got the theater bug again after directing Annie in 2008.
There will be three performances of Anything Goes, with evening performances on July 19 and 20 at 7:30 and a matinee on July 21 at 2pm. All proceeds will go to support the Heyde Center for the Arts, 3 S. High St., Chippewa Falls.