As the Jardel Drama theater company prepares for three weekend performances of Anything Goes, director Rachel Hrynczyszyn thinks the cast has the right mix of community theater veterans and newcomers.
“We have a good, responsive group,” she said. “We have some people who’ve been doing theater for years. For others, it’s their first foray. Everybody learns from each other.”
Hrynczyszyn got her start in theater as a youngster with the Theatre Company of Port Richmond. She later earned an English/theater degree from Temple and a master’s in theater/English education from New York University. The director, who works full-time as a paralegal, is a former recreation leader at Jardel, located on Cottman Avenue in Burholme. She’s directed children’s productions of Honk! Jr. and Alice in Wonderland Jr. at Jardel, along with an adult production of Side by Side.
As for the current production, Anything Goes was written in the early 1930s. It’s seen many revivals and revisions in the last eight decades.
Jardel Drama is producing the early 1960s revival. The show follows Billy Crocker, Reno Sweeney and others on their journey aboard the S.S. American. It features classic Cole Porter songs such as It’s DeLovely, Anything Goes and Blow, Gabriel.
“Anything Goes is, first and foremost, a fun show,” Hrynczyszyn said. “There are songs that people know, and it’s a comedy that people can enjoy.”
Choreographer David Pershica brings a dance resume that includes Broadway credits, four national tours and shows in Las Vegas and London. Pershica said the theater company offers performers the chance to play appealing Broadway roles. Community members can also enjoy a good show at an affordable price.
“This is a very important, viable form of theater,” he said.
Pershica credits cast members with rehearsing on their own and improving their acting, vocal and dance skills.
“They’re so hungry and are soaking it all in. They’ve been totally game and putting in so much time and effort,” he said. “Everybody is generous in helping each other out and making each other look good.”
The show features a lot of tap dancing. Pershica calls it a “madcap” show and “Vaudeville-esque.”
“It’s all fun, fun, fun and over-the-top characters,” he said. “We want them to be as crazy and silly as they want to be.”
Musical director Adam Blaine is only 20, but he has 15 years experience singing and playing the piano, bagpipes and trumpet. Blaine credits Hrynczyszyn and Pershica with bringing their expertise to the production and adds that the acting skills of the cast are “impressive.”
“The show is coming along really well. Everybody has put in a lot of work and a lot of hours,” he said.
Chelsea Drumel plays Hope Harcourt in the show. She played a couple of leading roles in musicals at Neshaminy High School and earned a theater degree from Temple in 2012. She’s performed with the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and has a role in the upcoming Adrienne Theater production of No Reservations.
Drumel likes Anything Goes because it’s a “feel-good” show with a happy ending.
“It’s a light-hearted, compelling, entertaining musical,” she said. “The show is a great one to do. It’s a delight to be a part of it. To be in a show from the ‘30s that is full of joy and celebration is very refreshing.”
Drumel said cast and crew members have been friendly and welcoming to one another, making for comfortable rehearsals.
“It’s a wonderful team,” she said. “Everybody is volunteering their time. They work 9 to 5, then come to rehearsal from 7 to 9. It’s a collaborative effort that is refreshing and fun.”
Jardel Drama will present Anything Goes on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jardel Recreation Center, at 1500 Cottman Ave. Tickets cost $10. They will be available at the door or in advance by calling Jardel at 215-685-0596 or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the club is available at jardeldrama.wix.com/jardeldrama or on the Jardel Drama page on Facebook. ••