The 1946 Broadway classic musical Annie Get Your Gun has opened at the Westchester Broadway Theater (WBT). The award winning musical written by Dorothy and Herbert Fields and features the music and lyrics of American legendary songwriter, Irving Berlin. The show has been revived numerous times on Broadway since its original run, and its light story and memorable songs are testament to its quality and longevity.
The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Old West icon, Annie Oakley who became famous for her expert marksmanship, and as a show act during the 19th Century as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Annie Oakley is a rough around the edges young woman with an uncanny talent for sharpshooting with a rifle. She enters a shooting competition at a hotel in Cincinnati where she beats the national champion, the handsome and womanizing Frank Butler. Annie is smitten by him, and she is invited to partner with him in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West tour. Frank too finds he is falling for the simple, yet genuine Annie.
As the competition for who is the best shot and showman heats up, so does their love interest. Annie however becomes the biggest draw of the show as it tours across the country. She becomes a star and legend in her own right. Feeling eclipsed by Annie, Frank Butler leaves the tour and joins a competing show run by Pawnee Bill. Though Frank and Annie separate, their paths will cross again in the future as the audience will discover.
The role of Annie Oakley is played by the talented Devon Perry, who was a standout member of the ensemble cast in Godspell at WBT in 2016. This is a big role as the character of Annie Oakley carries the musical. Ms. Perry shows that she is up to the challenge in a role played in the past by such stars as Ethel Merman, Mary Martin (television production) and Bernadette Peters. She charms the audience with her folksy and likable rendition of Annie. But when she sings, Perry lights up the stage and fills the theater with her powerful and versatile vocal performance that not only thrilled the audience, but lifted the energy of the wonderful cast on stage. As I watched, I wondered to myself was I witnessing the emergence of a future star of the theater?
The score by Irving Berlin includes some very famous and memorable songs, such as “No Business Like Show Business”, “The Girl that I Marry”, “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and the playful “Anything You Can Do ( I Can Do Better)”. The wonderful score blended with fine acting as well as dancing allow the two hour performance to move along effortlessly.
The direction and choreography by Richard Stafford is first rate. Of note is the wonderful dance scenes featuring the ensemble, which include intricate tap dance steps which were well synchronized and complimented the entire performance. Well done. The costume design by Kara Branch captured the western look of the characters as well as the correct late 19th century dress depicted in later scenes.
Adam Kemmerer as Frank Butler is a solid compliment to Annie and his duet with Devon Perry in “Anything You Can Do” was memorable and fun. Kilty Reidy a wonderful actor and a veteran of WBT (last seen this past spring in Mamma Mia!) and national tours, takes on the role of tour manager Charlie Davenport. Sarah Cline (Christmas Inn 2016 at WBT) gives a comedic perfomance as Dolly Tate. The rest of the excellent and talented cast in the ensemble help create a musical that will have you smiling, and singing the songs long after the theater lights go up.
The show runs through November 26th, then runs again from December 28th to January 28th 2018.
Dinner is served prior to the performance and is included in your ticket price.
Come see Broadway talent right in the heart of Westchester!
for tickets and more information: https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/
Westchester Broadway Theater
One Broadway Plaza Elmsford, New York
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