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A CurtainUp Connecticut Review
Annie Get Your Gun
Look out for that girl, if that's what she is under all that grime. She's got a gun.
— Dolly Tate, warning Frank about Annie Oakley
It's belting singing voice versus smooth, deep crooner as Annie Oakley (Jenn Gambatese) tries to woo rival sharpshooter Frank Butler (Kevin Earley) with a lot of fancy rifle tricks and classic Irving Berlin songs and lyrics in Annie Get Your Gun playing at the Goodspeed Opera House.
Kevin Earley and Jenn Gambatese as Frank and Annie
(Photo: Diane Sobolewski)
The musical, with a revised book by Peter Stone, recounts the romance between Annie and Frank, who perform shooting tricks in a Wild West Show run by Buffalo Bill Cody (David McDonald) and fall in love, especially after the ragtag Annie cleans up her act by trading in her dirty trousers for dresses, and bathing regularly, to woo Frank away from his assistant, Dolly Tate (a frosty Rebecca Watson).
Tate resents Annie's intrusion into the troupe. Well, she resents a lot of things, actually, especially the half "Indian" Tommy Keller (Andrew Cao) who is romantically interested in her sister, Winnie (Chelsea Morgan Stock).
When Annie's star starts to outshine Frank's, he joins a rival show operated by Cody's old friend Pawnee Bill (Bill Nabel). Both shows suffer financially, but Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Nichols) adopts Annie as his daughter and helps keep Cody's afloat for a while. What's needed to save both is a merger, however, and that will only happen if the two sharpshooters can put aside their differences and let romance take the lead. >
It's an old-fashioned musical, with lovely tunes.
Gambatese belts everything, however, including a lullaby, as though trying to conjure images of Ethel Merman, who originated the role on Broadway in 1946. Surprisingly Director Rob Ruggiero and Musical Director Michael O'Flaherty don't seem to mind. When they spar in "Anything You Can Do" about being able "say it softer" there's no question that we know Frank will win this one. Earley counters the belt, however, with one of those old-fashioned, smooth-as-butter, full-ranging baritones that had many swooning.
This revised and more politically correct version of the show omits some Indian characters and several songs from the original which is probably just as well since non-Native-American-appearing Nichols as Sitting Bull probably was stretching it far enough.
Noah Racey choreographs the able ensemble, but seems afraid to do too much on the small stage and sticks to a lot of posing instead of large dance movements. Set designer Michael Schweikardt frames all the action nicely with an arched backdrop and painted cloth panels. Alejo Vieti's period, western costumes are pleasing, especially the elegant evening gowns for the ball scene at New York's Brevort Hotel. Also standing out is Charles LaPointe's fine hair and wig design.
The show, originally scheduled to run through June 27 already has been extended through July 3.
Annie Get Your Gun
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields; revised by Peter Stone
Directed by Rob Ruggiero
Choreography by Noah Racey
Music Director: Michael O'Flaherty
Assistant Music Director: William J. Thomas
Orchestrations: Dan DeLange
Cast: Jenn Gambatese (Annie Oakley), Kevin Earley (Frank Butler), David McDonald (Buffalo Bill Cody), Rebecca Watson (Dolly Tate), Andrew Cao (Tommy Keeler), Chelsea Morgan Stock (Winnie Tate), James Beaman (Charlie Davenport), Michael Nichols (Chief Sitting Bull), Joy Rachel Del Valle (Jessie), Marissa Smoker (Nellie), Griffin Birney (Little Jake), Brandon Andrus, Sean Coughlin, Orville Mendoza, Pilar Millhollen, Bill Nabel, Con O'Shea-Creal, Natalie Ryder, Dorothy Stanley, Molly Tynes, Amos Wolff and Aaron Young (ensemble), Noah Aberlin, Hartleigh Buwick and Jake Poulios (swings).<
Set Design: Michael Schweikardt
Lighting Design: John Lasiter
Sound Design: Jay Hilton
Costume Design: Alejo Vietti
Hair and Wig Design: Charles LaPointe
Dialect Coach: Gillian Lane-Plescia
Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes with a 15 minute intermission
Goodspeed Musicals, 6 Main Street, East Haddam CT
Performances: Wednesday at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 pm (with select performances at 2 pm), Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm (with select performances at 6:30 pm).
Tickets are $27.50 - $71. Goodspeed Box Office (860-873-8668) or on-line at www.goodspeed.org.
April 16 – July 3, 2010
Review by Lauren Yarger based on performance of May 12, 2010
- There's No Business Like Show Business/Buffalo Bill & Company
Doin' What Comes Natur'lly/Annie & the kids
The Girl That I Marry—Frank & Annie
You Can't Get a Man With a Gun/Annie
Show Business (reprise)/Frank, Buffalo Bill, Charlie Davenport & Annie
I'll Share it All with You/ Tommie & Winnie
Moonshine Lullaby / Annie/Kids & the Cowboys
Show Business Reprise—Annie
They Say It's Wonderful—Annie & Frank
My Defenses Are Down—Frank and Cowboys
You Can't Get a Man with a Gun — Annie
Entr'acte/Annie & Company
I Got Lost in His Arms/Annie
Who Do You Love, I Hope/Tommy, Winnie & Ensemble
I Got the Sun in the morning/ Annie & Ensemble
An Old Fashioned Wedding/ Annie & Frank
The Girl That I Marry (reprise)/ Frank
Anything You Can Do/ Annie & Frank
They Say It's Wonderful (reprise)/ Annie, Frank * Company
Finale Ultimo/ The Company
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