In a world where Anything Goes…
In just a few weeks, months of preparation and hard work will come to life on the CCA stage with our production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. When it premiered in 1934, our country had fallen on hard times, and we were in the middle of the Great Depression. The future was uncertain and fear of what may lie ahead was on the hearts of many. When bread lines and soup kitchens were filled to capacity in New York City, why would Cole Porter write a musical about wealthy people sailing on an ocean liner? Was he just out of touch with the plight of so many Americans? I think not. He knew what we now know, that in hard times, laughter is the best medicine.Onboard the S.S American, sailing between New York and London, is Reno Sweeney, an evangelist-turned-nightclub-singer and her pal Billy Crocker, a love-sick Wall Street broker who has stowed away to convince his beloved Hope Harcourt, an American heiress, to marry him. Hope is engaged to the stuffy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, though she is really in love with Billy. The captain, who has promised his passengers some celebrities, has heard that a famous gangster has boarded the ship, but in reality, the most famous passenger on board is a second-rate gangster, Moonface Martin, aka “Public Enemy #13.” Reno and Moonface team up to help Billy win the love of his life.
Anything Goes is a witty show about opulence, romance, and celebrity that zips from a serious true-love story to one-liners, tap numbers, and slapstick comedy. And in between, we get to enjoy the brilliance of Cole Porter, songs which represent some of his best work. I Get a Kick out of You, It’s De-lovely, You’re the Top, Anything Goes, and Blow, Gabriel, Blow are just a few of the songs from this show that have become part of the fabric of America and part of the Great American Songbook. These songs, sung on the stage for the first time in 1934, provided a respite from the trials and troubles happening in the world at the time, and it was just what audiences needed.
It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord works. We chose this musical last April after much discussion and prayer. Little did we know back then what a challenging year this would be for many in our community. As a body of believers living, studying, and working together, we have borne each other's burdens on a scale to which God has not previously called us. It’s been a tough year for families, students, and our faculty who have suffered hardships, death, illness, and loss of various kinds. But God knew all of this back in April, and in His mercy, He knew what we needed and set us on a course that has brought us here. As we’ve worked on the show the last several months, we as a cast have shared moments of great sadness, but also moments of great joy. We’ve leaned hard on each other, and leaned hard into Jesus. The laughter in rehearsals has been a balm for our weary spirits, lifting us up and giving us hope that brighter days are ahead.
How can we have hope in uncertain times, and how do we know that things will get better and that we can trust the Lord as we walk forward? Because in a world that sometimes feels chaotic, as if “anything goes,” He is our constant, He is our rock, and He is faithful. Like Billy in his unrelenting pursuit of Hope, the Lord pursues us in these hard times, and like David we can declare, “The Lord is my strength and shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” Psalm 28:7
We dedicate this show to those we’ve lost this year, and we give thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to laugh, to dance, and to give thanks to Him with these marvelous songs.
Take a look behind the scenes during rehearsals with the video below produced by Preston Lynn, an 11th grade student at CCA.
Performances are March 19-21, tickets can be purchased here.