All aboard!

Come along for the ride as the Palmerton Area High School Drama Club presents its spring musical "Anything Goes" Thursday through Saturday in the high school auditorium.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for students, and $8 for adults. Refreshments and snacks will be available during intermission from the Future Business Leaders of America.

Brent Harris, Drama Club adviser, said "Anything Goes" is a Cole Porter musical about a young man, Billy Crocker, who follows his love interest, Hope Harcourt, onto a cruise ship. Hope is engaged to a wealthy Englishman, Evelyn Oakley, and Billy tries to find a way to win her away from her fiance.

Because he does not have a ticket for the cruise, Billy becomes involved with a gangster named Moonface Martin and a jazz singer/evangelist named Reno Sweeney who help him in his plans to win over Hope.

The events that follow are full of physical and situation comedy that create a show of non-stop laughs. It is also filled with show-stopping dances and musical numbers.

Harris said the musical "is just plain fun."

"We wanted a show that would be challenging and enjoyable to perform, and this one definitely fit the bill," Harris said. "It allowed us to showcase a set that is more complex than those we have been using over the past few years."

Harris said an actual cruise ship was constructed that takes up nearly all of the stage, which he added was definitely an unprecedented undertaking for the group.

"The characters of the show are each unique and creative, which allowed for our students to take on roles that they have not had exposure to in the past," he said. "And, the music is upbeat and infectiously catchy, with dances to match. We've had a blast putting this show together."

Harris said the students have taken a strong interest in the musical.

"From our first read through of 'Anything Goes' we have been laughing our way through rehearsals," he said. "It is incredible to see students presented with a production as involved as this one and smile their way through it. As the show gets closer and closer, they bring new life to their characters. When the stresses producing a show have appeared, these students have provided support for each other and continued to press on. We're hoping that 'Anything Goes' will be as special to our audience as it has become to us."

As for the cast, Jaelyn Rehm plays Billy Crocker, a young stockbroker who falls in love with Hope Harcourt and stows away on the cruise ship to try and win her love. Carolann Green plays Reno Sweeney, an evangelist/nightclub singer who is the most prominent celebrity on the cruise. She has a crush on Billy, but reluctantly helps him in his efforts to win over Hope. Abby Emes plays Hope Harcourt, a young debutante who is the daughter of Mrs. Harcourt, and is engaged to Sir Evelyn Oakley. Although she wants to make her mother happy by marrying Evelyn, she is slowly seeing that Billy might be the right guy for her.

Ben Winn plays Moonface Martin, Public Enemy Number 13, a gangster who isn't quite as notorious as he would like to be. Always out to make a profit, he tries to help Billy in hopes that there will be a payoff waiting at the end of the cruise. His gangster cleverness comes in handy more often than you might think.

Ricky Getz plays Evelyn Oakley, a wealthy Englishmen who is rather amused by the American way of life and has been keeping a journal of slang phrases to use when he arrives back at home. Although he seems to be a straight-laced Brit, he may just have a surprise past that none of the other characters know about.

Mason Allen plays Mrs. Harcourt, who wants desperately to marry her daughter to Evelyn so that they can go on living luxuriously through his money. She will stop at nothing to make sure the wedding goes as planned.

Sean Gibson plays Elisha J. Whitney, Billy's boss, who also happens to be on the cruise, thinking that Billy is working on Wall Street. Whitney is always trying to stir a profit through business associations. He is notoriously bad at seeing without his glasses and visits the ship's bar a little too much. That won't stop him, however, from trying to win over Mrs. Harcourt's affection once he finds out she is on the trip as well.

Harris said the drama club's goal has been to continue to grow as a club. The group has grown in number, in excitement, in entertainment value, and in production scale over the last few years, a trend Harris said they hope to keep going so they can continue to entertain audiences show after show.

"We really feel that 'Anything Goes' is a top notch musical, and that our audiences will not be disappointed with the production," he said. "Our measure of success will be the smiles on their faces as they head for home after the show."