The Dodge City High School production of Cole Porter's musical "Anything Goes" is a 1930s tale of nightclub singers, second-rate gangsters, New York debutantes and Wall Street bankers.

Playing Feb. 8 to 10 at 7 p.m. at the Dodge City High School Auditorium, "Anything Goes" is set aboard an ocean liner en route from New York to London. The production is an upbeat comedy set in the early-30s, featuring hit songs "It's De-Lovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You," and "You're the Top."

The DCHS choral music department produced the 1962 version of the play 20 years ago, and in his 20th year of teaching DCHS musical theater director Knedler wanted to bring it back for this year's Winter Musical.

The department is presenting the Beaumont Theater revival version which emphasizes dance and choreography.

"It's a little more updated and jazzy version," Knedler said.

The campy production lets the performers stretch their wings artistically. Senior Dario Lozano plays mobster Moonface Martin, and he says the opportunities for improvisation stave off rehearsal monotony.

“This is definitely the most fun I’ve had with a character,” Lozano said. “This cast is amazing. I get to improvise and just have fun, and if I fall or accidentally bump into someone they just react in the perfect way. It’s almost like an organic creature on stage.

“It’s nice to have the freedom to where, if it’s funny, it’s okay.”  

Knedler said more than 60 students are involved in the production, devoting evenings and weekends to preparations, rehearsals and set construction.

"The kids do everything," he said. "There's the adult guidance of course but they are very self-motivated."

“We have a tech crew but there’s no way they could do it all,” Lozano said. “It’s an all-hands-on experience.”

The improv means audiences will certainly see some nuanced differences in each performance.

“We’re always adding to it and doing new things every single night,” said senior Jeremy Ragland, who plays Billy Crocker. “We stay close to the source material but there are always opportunities to be different or funnier and we try to catch that.”

The music department is continuing its 21-year-old program, Adopt-A-Character. The program allows area individuals and businesses to support fine arts at the high school by adopting their favorite character and making adoption contributions. Donors can adopt stage crew and pit orchestra members as well.

The program generates much-needed funds that help keep the musical return each year.

“The district doesn't have the funds to just hand over money and say 'Go have a big musical every year,’” Knedler said. "This allows us to have a great team of teachers from the district come up and teach the kids something fun."

Contributors will be acknowledged in the program and pre-show presentation. They will also receive reserved tickets to the show as well as an official adoption certificate.

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