This will be the fifth time Michael J. Lasley has been involved with “Anything Goes,” but it will be his first time directing.
Civic Theatre Executive Artistic Director Lasley, who will be involved with his 201st show at Civic, will direct the production of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” Oct. 12 to 27 at The Tarkington in Carmel.
“I’ve been involved with it three times at Civic and two more times at other theaters,” said Lasley, who joined Civic Theatre in 1990. “This is the first time I’ve directed it. For as popular a show as it is in community theaters and regional theaters, it was on Broadway in 1934 and then not again until 1987. Then there was production again in 2011. It’s very popular with theater-goers, but has not had a lot of revivals on Broadway.”
It was last performed in Civic’s Young Artists Program in 2013. Lasley also was involved with the 2003 production at Civic.
The musical’s songs include the title song, “I Get a Kick out of You,” and “You’re the Top.”
“We’re partnering with the Great American Songbook to promote this and they are going to have a display out in the lobby because these songs are the Great American Songbook,” Lasley said. “It’s a great tie-in for everybody. With this our 104th season, to have a big splashy show like this with a Hoosier composer is perfect for us.”
Susie Harloff, Avon, is playing nightclub singer Reno Sweeney for the second time. She previously performed the role at Footlite Musicals in 2017 in Indianapolis.
“But this is a completely different version of the show,” Harloff said. “This storyline makes a little more sense because it is kind of an old-fashioned, crazy storyline.”
Harloff loves performing with Civic Theatre.
“As an amateur actress, it says professionalism all over,” Harloff said.
She last performed at Civic in 2013 in “Into the Woods.”
“I got to the play the Baker’s Wife in that show, which was a bucket-list role, a role I always dreamed of playing,” Harloff said. “After that, playing Reno Sweeney (at Civic) because it is my next bucket list role.”
Harloff said the choreography is intense.
“I’ve been dancing for a long time and pick things up pretty quick, but I did not pick this up quick,” Harloff said. “I had to work really, really hard to get all the steps. I’m still trying to figure some things out. The level of direction is so intense. They really try to dig deep down into the character and make you really think about who it is you are playing and not just what lines you are.”
Juddson Updike, a Carmel resident, is performing in his first Civic show but had worked in the production area and Civic shows for younger people.
“I didn’t start in theater until I was 19,” Updike said. “I did some small stuff in Chicago. I performed for Disney for a year-and-a-half on a cruise ship, singing and dancing, working with Mickey Mouse and all that fun stuff.”
Updike is playing Billy Crocker.
“He’s a little different than I am, but he’s a lot of fun,” Updike said. “I’m basically a stowaway on the ship, so I get to act in disguises and doing different voices. It’s a lot of fun to play because I get to be a couple of different characters.”
A behind-the-scenes look
Civic Theatre will start its 2018-19 season with its “Putting it Together” program Oct. 12 for the second consecutive year. The fundraising session starts at 5:30 p.m., prior to the 7 p.m. show.
“The idea is to ask people to pay a little more, which is actually what it costs to do this,” Lasley said. “We get about 50 percent of our income from support from individuals, government foundations, sponsors, and the other half comes from box office.”
Lasley said the idea is for subscribers and individual ticket buyers to pay twice what they normally would pay as a fundraiser.
“We give them something to eat and drink, but more importantly we give them a look at the process from auditions all the way to seeing the show that night,” Lasley said. “They’ll see crews set up, they’ll be able to take tours backstage, see the actors preparing and see the scenery backstage.”
For more, visit civictheatre.org.