MERIDEN — After eight weeks of learning music, lines, and tap dancing choreography, students at Maloney High School are making the final preparations to bring the spring musical to the stage.
“Anything Goes,” a 1930s musical comedy, is about a group of passengers aboard a cruise liner that is set to sale from New York to London. The musical written by Cole Porter is built in a classical style and runs two and a half hours long.
Director David Pelletier said the musical is one of the more technically difficult classics because it includes a lot of choreography, complicated dialogue and the construction of a large set. Last year they performed “Mary Poppins” but felt it was time to do another classic and a musical comedy
“While ‘Mary Poppins’ had a significant amount of dance in the show, ‘Anything Goes’ is two fold when it comes to the amount of dance that takes place,” Pelletier said.
Cast members of varying dance ability, some who had never put on tap shoes, learned long dance and tap choreography. Pelletier said the entire process, from auditions to dress rehearsals, took eight weeks.
The show opens Thursday at 7 p.m. and will run through Sunday, with a final performance starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are available on the Maloney Music Department’s website.
On Tuesday, cast members, orchestra and the lighting and sound production team participated in the week-long technical and dress rehearsal.
Senior Josh Medina, who plays Sir Evelyn, said the process in this musical was different than the musicals he has done in the past. Medina said the hardest weeks involved learning the dance numbers.
“Doing the choreography for like an hour or two, you’re always sweating,” Medina said.
Senior Skylar Alemar, who plays Reno Sweeney, said in addition to the music and choreography, several students had to learn various accents, including a 1930s stage voice of the time. She said preparing for the musical took up most of the cast’s time.
“If you’re not doing school work you’re memorizing lines or looking through your book or doing tap underneath your desk,” Alemar said.
Pelletier said in addition to learning lines, students had to research certain “modern day” references made throughout the show because the musical first opened the 1930s. He said the students needed to understand what they were singing about.
“The vernacular of the day is very different,” Pelletier said. “When the students are singing songs with lyrics like ‘Greta Garbo salary’ they don’t know who Greta Garbo is.”
Pelletier said the style of the music and structure of the musical is also reflective of the time. Author Cole Porter used lyrics to play on words and use “silly rhyme schemes” to make references of the day, Pelletier said.
Senior Khalil Hissouf, who plays Billy Crocker, said although the language and character felt so different he felt a connection to the musical. He said the department works like a professional production and he was proud to have learned so much in a span of eight weeks.
“I think going into it you have to do a certain amount of studying as far as the script goes but when you get into it, these characters feel young at heart,” Hissouf said.