Summer theater returns to Burnsville

‘Anything Goes’ for the second show from The Play’s the Thing Productions

Reno Sweeney, played by Kara Taft (center), is one of the lead characters in The Play’s the Thing Productions’ staging of “Anything Goes” this month at the Mraz Center for the Arts at Burnsville High School. Surrounding her are her “Angels” (clockwise) Laini Devin, Brogan DeBlieck, Hannah Morrissey and Taelyn Gore. Photo submitted

The Play’s the Thing Productions has officially brought a summer community theater program back to Burnsville.

That’s the way the company’s artistic director, Danya Railton, describes the organization’s two-production run this summer at the Mraz Center for Performing Art at Burnsville High School.

“As far as I know this will be a continuation for years to come,” Railton said when talking about the second summer show, “Anything Goes,” which will start a four-show series starting Aug. 17.

The Play’s the Thing staged “Lion King Junior” earlier this summer to mark the return of what Railton said was a 10-year absence of community theater in Burnsville.

The company will say goodbye to the warmer months with a “show that screams summer,” Railton said.

“Anything Goes” takes place on a cruise ship traveling from New York City to London. On the boat, there’s lots of singing and dancing, which Railton calls the biggest challenge of the play for its cast.

“There is a fantastic tap dancing number in the show,” Railton said. “It’s amazing. For a dance-type of a show, this one is big.”

Railton said she was impressed with the dance talent in the Twin Cities that auditioned for the show, which includes young people from throughout the south metro area, mostly in college or older.

“We got some amazing talent,” Railton said.

She said people who have had 10 or more years of tap dancing experience were able to follow along to the choreography introduced in rehearsals by Emily Hanson.

“It was not your normal stand and shuffle,” Railton said.

Weekday rehearsals for “Anything Goes,” which features the music of Cole Porter, began after the Fourth of July.

The lighthearted “boy-meets-girl” comedy includes several of Porter’s most recognizable songs, including the title track, “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “It’s De-Lovely,” and “Let’s Misbehave.”

Porter’s penchant for upbeat, jazzy numbers with lyrical twists of phrase have endured through the years. The Play’s the Thing is staging the 1962 version of “Anything Goes.”

“It’s a popular choice for community theater,” Railton said. “The music is fantastic. It’s a good introduction to Cole Porter.”

She said rehearsals in the final week are focusing on some of the gimmicks, timing in the comedy and scene changes.

“I think it’s going to be a high-quality show,” Railton said. “Everyone involved in it have truly enjoyed themselves and learned a few things. Audiences will enjoy it. For people who may have seen it before long ago, this is their opportunity to see it again with fresh faces.”

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17-19 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $11 for students and seniors. Ticket information is at

Contact Tad Johnson at [email protected] or at