ELLSWORTH -- Ellsworth High School will sail away this weekend as students put on their rendition of the classic musical "Anything Goes."

The three hour show is filled with big band music, student-choreographed dances and strong vocalists. More than 70 people are involved, from the student actors and band members to stage crew and teachers.

“There’s quite a lot of talent in the band and cast in general,” Katelyn Fuchs, drama and English teacher said.

"Anything Goes" is a high energy 1934 musical by Cole Porter. It follows the journey of a group of individuals on a boat as they make their way to London from New York. Billy Crocker (Roy Roberts) is a young Wall Street man who decides to stow away in the hopes of winning the affection of the woman he loves, debutante Hope Harcourt (Jolene Schultz) with the help of his friend and nightclub singer Reno Sweeny (Shelby Schultz). The problem is Hope is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a relationship Hope’s family encourages. The story becomes a bit of a complicated love triangle or a “love square,” as some on the cast put it.

Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Hope's mother over-prepares when she thinks the ship is sinking. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia
Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Hope's mother over-prepares when she thinks the ship is sinking. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia

The musical doubles as an extracurricular and a project for the theater performance class. As a project the students have learned how to work together and share ideas to create the show.

“It’s a lot of people being open minded to each other to create a good environment,” Jolene Schultz said.

Students had a hand in nearly every aspect of the performance. Almost all of the show’s dances were choreographed by students. For many of the actors it was their first time dancing in a performance. The performers have worked on the show’s tap dance since the summer.

“I think the combination of the talent of the singing and the dancing is really going to wow a lot of people,” Jolene Schultz said.

Students took ownership of their costumes as well. They were given a budget and were in charge of their wardrobe. This led to trips to the thrift store and some online shopping.

The musical includes a choreographed tap dance piece.  Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia
The musical includes a choreographed tap dance piece. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia

The musical provided the students with a challenge.

“By far this musical is probably the most challenging musical for us, from the shows that we have done,” band director Nick Junker said. Many of the woodwind players played multiple instruments. In fact, one student is playing four different woodwind instruments.

The old-fashioned humor in this musical, makes this show's target audience teens to adults. Because the humor is unique, students really had to learn how to carefully read a script and how to perfectly time the humorous moments.

“I think we had to go over a few specific specific lines and where were like this is actually a joke,” Shelby Schultz said.

Shelby Schultz sings on stage. Her character is Reno Sweeny, a jazz singer and old friend of Billy Crocker's. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia
Shelby Schultz sings on stage. Her character is Reno Sweeny, a jazz singer and old friend of Billy Crocker's. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia

Audience members can expect to experience a variety of emotions and be entertained by the humor, singing, dancing and love story.

“Its got a little bit for everybody. I'm just extremely proud of the students and how hard they've worked,” Fuchs said.

If you go ...

What: "Anything Goes"

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 14-16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 17

Where: Ellsworth High School Cafetorium

How much: Adults $8, students $3