Cappies Review of Anything Goes at Chantilly High School

By Office of Communications
May 06, 2024

Fairfax County Public Schools students are talented actors, musicians, and visual artists. Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, otherwise known as the Cappies.

The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. There are fifteen Cappies chapters across the United States and Canada. 

Editor's Note: This review of Anything Goes was written by Courtney Butts of Woodson High School. 

Get ready to set sail on a high-seas adventure filled with romance, toe-tapping tunes, and plenty of shipboard shenanigans in the classic musical Anything Goes at Chantilly High School!

Prepare to be whisked away to the roaring 1930s with the hilarious musical comedy Anything Goes written by P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton. It made its grand debut on Broadway at the Alvin Theater in 1934, and boy, did it make waves! Boasting over 400 performances, it quickly became one of the longest-running musicals of the Depression era. The story revolves around the charismatic nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, the charming Billy Crocker, and debutant Hope Harcourt. As they set sail, love triangles, mistaken identities, and hilarious antics ensue, keeping the audience on their toes. Not to mention the witty dialogue and shocking plot twists that hook the audience from start to finish. And let's not forget the music! Cole Porter's genius shines through with a timeless blend of jazz, blues, swing, and big band that'll have you dancing in your seat.

Girls just wanna have fun, and Grace Drost truly embodied that spirit in her role as Erma. Bringing laughter to every scene, Drost was one for the dramatics with her larger-than-life personality. Whether busting out flamboyant gestures or delivering a flirty growl, Drost knew how to command the stage and get what she wanted. Not to mention, her vocal prowess was displayed during "Buddy, Beware." Her titillating vocal performance dazzled both the sailing crew and the audience!

Beware of public enemy #13, Moonface Martin! Portrayed by David Garcia, there was never a dull moment when Moonface was on stage. His impressive "mob-boss" accent transported the audience to the 1930s, never slipping even during singing. What truly had the audience gasping for air was Garcia's mastery of rubber hose comedy, characterized by bendy limbs and elastic movements. This comedic style brought perfect timing and infinite flexibility to Moonface, allowing him to slip through the cracks during ship-board heists.

The life of the party with a personality as fiery as her red-hot lipstick, Bridget Dombro stole the stage in her role as Reno Sweeney. Always on alert, Dombro embodied the principle of "acting is reacting." Her ability to react and adapt to her scene partners created a truly immersive experience, and her attention to period accurate movements added an extra layer of authenticity to her character as every eye flick, facial expression, and hand gesture had a purpose. And let's not forget the show-stopping number "Friendship" where Dombro's incredible talent shone through, as she and Garcia created a comedic masterpiece with their perfectly synchronized acting choices. The audience couldn't get enough!

These show stopping numbers couldn't have been possible without the intricate choreography created by Mary Clare Pelczynski and Sam Wolff. They combined jazz, swing, and tap creating dynamic dance sequences with impressive lifts and jumps! Teaching the cast to tap dance from scratch was truly impressive. A notoriously difficult artform to learn, these actors danced like professionals, showcasing their technical proficiency in the iconic dance break during "Anything Goes." Lake Ervin, Austen Locke, and Emma Mai led the hair and makeup crew, nailing the period accuracy of their designs. The women rocked tight pin-up curls and bold red lipstick, while the men looked dapper with slicked back hair. Each character had a unique style, bringing the 1930s dream to life.

Anything Goes is an iconic musical that culminates challenging acting, vocal, and dance performances. The talented actors and technical crew at Chantilly High School took the audience on an unforgettable cruise of a lifetime, proving that jazz never dies!

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