Talent Machine tackles '34 hit 'Anything Goes'

Stage: The Cole Porter musical, featuring some of the composer's most popular songs, will open Aug. 2 at Key Auditorium at St. John's College in Annapolis.

July 25, 2002|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A cruise ship filled with colorful passengers, including Wall Street moguls, debutantes, escaped convicts, noblemen and a former nightclub singer turned evangelist - accompanied by her own group of guardian angels - will dock at Key Auditorium at St. John's College on Aug. 2.

These characters from composer Cole Porter's 1934 hit musical Anything Goes will be brought to life by the 14- to 18-year-old Talent Machine cast, a 26-member troupe of familiar favorites and newcomers who will appear at Key Auditorium Thursdays through Sundays until Aug. 18.

Talent Machine veteran Amy Sonntag, 18, of Annapolis will play nightclub-singer-turned-evangelist Reno Sweeney. Jonathan Nuckols, a 16-year-old company veteran, will be playing his first leading role as Billy Crocker, a Wall Street executive who boards the ship to say goodbye to his chum Reno, when he meets his former fiancee Hope Harcourt.

Debutante Hope is played by another Talent Machine veteran, 17-year-old Kerry Dietrick of Severna Park. Her character's current fiance, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, is played by 18-year-old Sean McCarron of Davidsonville, a newcomer to the company.

Hope's socially ambitious mother, Evangeline Harcourt, will be played by 14-year-old Rachel Scott of Severna Park.

Andrew Sonntag, 16, of Annapolis plays Public Enemy No. 13 - Moonface Martin - masquerading as a clergyman, who helps Billy, still in love with Hope, stow away. Moonface's accomplice and sidekick Bonnie will be played by 16-year-old Karley Willocks of Crofton.

Through all of the identity swapping and unexpected flowering of shipboard romances, director Bobby Smith will aim to keep the hilarity high and the timing precise for his teen-age cast in his debut Talent Machine directing assignment.

A seasoned Broadway performer and a director and choreographer of off-Broadway and national touring companies, Smith recently returned to this region.

He recently choreographed Talent Machine's Annie Get Your Gun, which closes Sunday after a three-weekend run at Key Auditorium.

With Anything Goes, Smith says he is "delighted to be given the chance to work on stage with such kids as Jonathan Nuckols and Andy Sonntag, who are magical."

In choreographing the production, he said, "the girls are wonderful, and more is demanded of them because they mature faster, but I'm especially trying to encourage the boys, who are lacrosse players turned tap dancers."

Music director Nicole Robyler, a former Talent Machine performer and area music teacher, was also music director for Annie Get Your Gun and three other shows.

In Anything Goes, Robyler is in charge of a score containing some of Cole Porter's greatest songs, including "You're the Top," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "It's De-Lovely," "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" and "All Through the Night."

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults and may be reserved by calling the Talent Machine box office at 410-956-0512.

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