Van Nuys Senior High School

‘Anything Goes’ at Van Nuys High

Once again the stage of the Donna Hubbard Auditorium was transformed into a magnificent set for the musical “Anything Goes,” presented by Actors in Action. On various nights from March 12 to 21, the Van Nuys students displayed many talents. Around one hundred students participated, including actors, dancers, singers, musicians, and the stage crew. With Mr. Olea’s directing, Mr. Eisenhart’s conducting, vocal guidance from Mrs. Arevalo, Ms. Partida’s and Ms. Brookes’ choreography skills, Mr. Kirkpatrick’s stagecraft design, and Mr. Coy’s experience with live production, this year’s musical became one of the best ever performed at Van Nuys. The dedicated students committed countless hours every day after school and on Saturdays since December in preparation for the performances.

The classic story of “Anything Goes” follows Billy Crocker (Christian Valdez), a Wall Street broker who boards the S.S. American to follow his love, Hope Harcourt (Olivia Rodriguez). Hope, despite reciprocating Billy’s romantic feelings, is engaged to Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Edgar Khatchatrian), who is also fairly uninterested in his fiancée and instead takes an interest in Reno Sweeny (Cameron Bascombe). Reno and Moonface Martin (Henry Etchison), a.k.a. “Public Enemy #13,” aid Billy in his goal to win Hope. In addition to having a hectic yet captivating storyline, the musical is also a comedic one bound to make the audience burst out in laughter on several occasions.

As for the Orchestra, February and March are generally busy months to begin with – the whole orchestral production was put together within three weeks. Despite the short time frame, the talented group practiced every day for hours and was confident by the time the curtains opened on the first night. Regarding the relationship between the orchestra and the actors, tenor/baritone saxophonist Jason Ayala said, “It was just nice to see them outside of the classroom, singing, dancing and having a good time. Although we didn’t work directly with each other, it was nice to work alongside them and see what they do best, up close, every day for three weeks.”

The musical at Van Nuys was nothing short of outstanding. The vocal, dance, acting, and orchestral performance seemed almost too good to come from high school students. Lead actor Valdez stated, “As we rehearse more and more we all really become a family. We all struggle together and love each other very much. It gets weirdly more stressful and less stressful in the days before we go up.” “Anything Goes” was clearly a success, one that will be hard to beat next year—but Actors in Action will certainly deliver.

-Amanda Kaufman