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Tri-City talent sets sails to RCMT's Anything Goes

Shannon Hanbury portrays Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes, this year’s Royal City Musical Theatre production at the Massey Theatre.
Tri-City residents Nolan Fahey, Joanna Kovats, Callie Anderson and Sam Ellington are in the Royal City Musical Theatre production of Anything Goes, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter (missing from photo are Shannon Hanbury and Nicolas Bradbury).

Shannon Hanbury portrays Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes, this year’s Royal City Musical Theatre production at the Massey Theatre.

The Archbishop Carney regional secondary grad was cast by director and choreographer Valerie Easton — a Port Coquitlam resident — in the starring role.

But, as Hanbury tells it, her debutante character is anything but happy.

Harcourt, the Coquitlam resident explains, is about to be married to the wealthy and stuffy Englishman Lord Evelyn Oakleigh (played in the New Westminster musical by Michael Wild).

Her heart, however, is set on Billy Crocker, a young Wall Street broker who is stowed away on the ocean liner Harcourt and Oakleigh are sailing on from New York to London.

The timing isn’t good: It’s right after the stock market crashes, right after Harcourt’s father jumps to escape financial ruin.

And she’s forced to choose between love and obeying her mother’s wishes to save the family and go through with the arranged union.

“It’s a very, very heavy role,” Hanbury said. “She’s going against her heart. She has to choose what’s better for her or what’s better for her family to ensure their safety.”

While it’s Hanbury’s second time appearing in the Cole Porter classic (she was one of Reno’s Angels for the 2011 Theatre Under the Stars show), it’s a first for Coquitlam’s Joanna Kovats, an English native who is cast as a passenger aboard the SS American.

And despite her extensive credits with Metro Vancouver companies — including TUTS, Align Entertainment, Patrick Street Productions and Gateway Theatre — it will also be Kovats’ debut performance with RCMT.

A dance teacher at Coquitlam’s Children of Integrity Montessori Academy, Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts and Tri-City Dance Centre, Kovats said she was thrilled to be picked. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” she said of working with RCMT.

Kovats gives kudos to her husband and friends for helping her through the busy rehearsal and performance schedule this and next month. The three-week run for the mother of two is a balancing act, adding to her self-employment demands and family commitments “but, luckily, I’ve got a lot of supportive people around me.”

Other Tri-City talent in Anything Goes includes Callie Anderson, Sam Ellington, Nicolas Bradbury and Nolan Fahey, the Eagle Mountain middle student who in January was named Outstanding Newcomer by the Ovation! Awards for his lead role in the Arts Club Theatre Company production of Billy Elliot in 2016.

As for Hanbury’s next move she’s lined up this summer to star in another musical based on a century ago, as Janet van de Graaff in TUTS’ The Drowsy Chaperone, a parody of American musical comedy of the 1920s. The show, which runs on alternate days in July and August, takes place at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park — the same outdoor venue Hanbury’s great-great grandfather, the former Vancouver mayor W.H. Malkin, had built in 1934 in memory of his wife, Marion.

• For tickets to Anything Goes, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, call 604-521-5050 or visit The show takes place at the Massey Theatre (735 Eighth Ave., New Westminster) from April 6 to 23 at 7:30 p.m.