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Have a Flair for Performing? All Aboard on This Ship

Weekly musings from Jeff Long, public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District.

Anything Goes – and that is certainly the case when it comes to the latest Winter Stage production by the Fox Valley Park District.

That is to say, if you have a flair for acting, singing, dancing, laughing, telling jokes or anything else entertaining, there’s a role waiting for you.

“It’s going to be a huge cast of characters with performers of all ages,” said Kyle Donahue, performing arts supervisor. “There’s something for every type of performer, with at least 15 leads and all types of supporting roles. At times, the entire stage will be filled – it’s that kind of show.”

Auditions for Anything Goes are set for next Thursday (Nov. 1) from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Prisco Community Center. But you can – and need to – get a head start before then.

All prospective performers are required to visit the Park District website, go to the drama page and choose a pre-selected song that will be performed as part of the audition. Think of it as extra practice, a rehearsal before the big moment.

“What we’ll be looking for most is personality … lots of personality,” said Donahue. “There are so many different roles – silly, serious, comedic, singing, non-singing – so we need performers who are big on style and flair.

“So my advice is … be a clown! Let your fun side come out in auditions and show us what’s special about your abilities, because everybody is their own star.”

That would befit the show itself. Cole Porter’s Anything Goes was the definitive musical comedy of the 1930s with its giddy scenes of love and romance, combined with old-fashioned farce, extended dance breaks and light, breezy songs.

The plot follows a young stockbroker who stows away on an ocean liner to prevent the marriage of his beloved lady to a stuffy Englishman. It’s an eventful cruise of romance, disaster and hilarity, combining love, mistaken identity, ridiculous disguises, harmless gangsters, flashy celebrities and tap dancing sailors.

Hence, the need for great diversity among the cast.

“Light entertainment, funny stories and slapstick humor,” said Donahue, “but it’s really about the music, featuring one show-stopping number after another.”

Donahue anticipates a cast as large as 90 performers and, at times, they will fill the entire stage with song and dance.

Choreographing such a large group is a passion for Lynn Arevalo, who did the same for previous Park District stage productions, Cats and Footloose. Jessica Curtis is on board as the new director and Elizabeth Krahulec takes over as musical director.

This is the 11th year for Winter Stage, but only the second year in which adults are also featured in the cast with children ranging in age to as young as 7.

“The best part of doing a show is that the entire cast becomes its own family when you’re spending so many hours together rehearsing to make the production the absolute best it can be,” said Donahue. “It’s a magical feeling.”

Rehearsals begin Nov. 11, and the lucky cast will be working hard – while having a lot of fun along the way – toward its four stage performances on Jan. 11, 12 and 13 at the Prisco Center. Tickets will be available in mid-December. Don’t miss the ship – and a great show at that.

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Visit www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org for more information on the Winter Stage production of Anything Goes.

Fox Valley Park District
Upcoming Events

Friday, Oct. 26: Halloween Family Fun Night, Prisco Community Center, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 26: Haunted House, Prisco Community Center, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 26-28: Member Appreciation Weekend, Vaughan Athletic Center, daily.
Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 27-28: Pumpkin Weekends at Blackberry Farm, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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