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'Anything Goes' at Kennedy Catholic High School

SOMERS, N.Y. – Members of the Kennedy Catholic Players will don their sailor hats and tap shoes this weekend for the premiere performance of Cole Porter’s 1934 musical play, “Anything Goes.” The show, which is set on a trans-Atlantic ocean liner, has had several revivals and has won numerous awards over the years.

The musical numbers include the classics: “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “All Through the Night,” “So Easy to Love,” “You’re the Top,” “It’s De-Lovely” and of course, “Anything Goes.”

Director Dana Merritt talked recently about her involvement in the school’s production. “I was asked to come to JFK in September to teach dance,” said Merritt, who owns Arts Caravan in Katonah. “Then they asked me to choreograph this show, then they asked me to direct it. There’s a lot of tap dancing in the show, because it’s my thing. Some kids are doing it for the first time. I try to teach them steps they can take away because it’s an educational situation.”

The school production has two casts that alternate parts. “I play Moonface Martin, Public Enemy Number 13,” said senior Philip Prinzivalli. “He’s a joke but he thinks he’s serious.”

“When Phil plays Moonface, I play the captain,” added Matthew Pereira, also a senior. “The next night we switch. We play the same character but we play him differently. Phil is a lot more ‘gangstery.’ I’m more colorful and more comical.”

Megan Callaghan, 17, and Lara Manbeck, 15, both play Reno Sweeney the show’s leading lady. “Reno’s not like me,” said Callaghan. “She’s very flirtatious. She’s confident but not arrogant. And she can get any guy.” Manbeck, who said she plays the part differently, added, “I didn’t expect to get the part and I feel really lucky that I did.”

There are roughly 45 kids in the cast. “We like to give a chance to as many kids as possible. For most kids, this is it. The only time they’ll be onstage.” Merritt chose this play, she said, “because most people know the music.”

“Anything Goes” premieres at Kennedy Catholic High School on Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Additional performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.

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