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Keeping it light

This spring, the Laguna Beach High School drama department will give audiences a break from these depressive times with the same funny production that lightened hearts during the Great Depression.

The drama, dance, music and chorus programs will join their talented forces to put on Cole Porter’s 1934 musical comedy, “Anything Goes,” which tells the story of New Yorker Billy Crocker, who boards a London-bound luxury cruise liner to prevent his object of desire, Hope Harcourt, from marrying the stuffy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh.

Keeping it true to form, students will perform some of the great American songs from the 1920s and ’30s, including “I Get No Kick from Champagne,” “Let’s Misbehave” and of course — “Anything Goes.”

The uplifting vocal performances, tap and other early dance-style routines promise to “keep the audience’s toes tapping,” director Mark Dressler said.


“I’m excited to focus on an era of performing art that this department hasn’t done in a really long time,” he said. “Just as shows of that time took people out of the dire circumstances they were in, our show is meant to give the whole family an ‘escape’ from our own times and enjoy something fun together.”

A risqué and avant-garde show for Broadway at the time it premiered, the wacky musical comedy also jokes about wild life during Prohibition and pokes fun at a time when people glorified and harbored affection for “gangster life.”

Senior Austin Giangeruso, who will play Moonface Martin, a gangster posing as a minister who helps Billy win over Hope, said he was excited to break from the more modern pieces the department has performed the past three years.

“We’re bringing a new time period to Laguna [audiences] that’s over-the-top and humorous,” he said. “Everyone should come see it for a laugh.”


Reno Sweeney’s character, played by Morea Arthur, has taught the young actress to look for “truth” in her own life.

“Reno is always looking for what will make her happy,” she said. “I’ve learned that the only way to really find happiness is in the true things in life, like love.”

Nicolai Doreng-Stearns said he, too, has learned a valuable life lesson through his character, the proper and sophisticated Sir Evelyn Oakleigh.

“He learns to let go and enjoy life, which has taught me not to take myself too seriously,” he said.

All of the students agree that it’s important to “let go” and have a laugh, something they promise their production of “Anything Goes” will deliver.

If You Go

What: “Anything Goes”

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays March 12 through 28. Also a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee.


Where: Artists Theatre, 625 Park Ave.

Information: Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for students/seniors; $20 for reserved seating, and will go on sale March 8 at the box office. Call (949) 497-7769.