Review by Danny Gaisin
Irving Berlin’s “ANNIE GET YOUR GUN” was a Broadway success story from its opening curtain back in 1947 and is still a sure-fire draw today. Much of the music is still enjoyed even out of the play’s context, and some have even become standards. Shooting Star Theatrics now bring it joyously back to Hamilton.
This tale of William Cody’s Wild West Show and his two sharpshooting feature attractions takes some liberties with the actual story of Anne Oakley and her relationship with Frank Butler, but is fairly close to their actual story. They did begin as competitors, then mutual act supporters and ultimately married. Both died in 1926.
The title role is played by Kathleen Dodd and she’s one very expressive actor. Her eyes and expression mirror her every emotion, especially when she’s projecting that competitive nature that was the outstanding feature of her actual character. Dodd’s voice and projection are equal to the task of performing just about every hit song in the play, including some impacting solos like ‘Can’t get a man with a gun’. She has two numbers with the three kids playing her younger siblings and she can hold her own in spite of that famous W.C. Fields’ caveat. Her male counterpart is sung by Sean Moir who has presence and a powerful voice to match. Surprisingly, he seems to resist letting his face mirror what he emotes. Moir has a handsome smile and showing it would enhance his characterization, especially the arrogant supercilious moments.
Like every Broadway musical, there has to be a romantic sub-plot and in this case it’s the Winnie Tate/Tommy Keeler affair. They’re portrayed by Elisa Sorbara & Tasos Nikopoulos respectively and this team are talented singers & dancers. Their Act I ‘Share it with you’ number has some intricate choreography that they are able to satisfactorily perform, but is the post-interval ‘Who do you love, I hope’ duet and then chorus reprise that is a show stopper.
The co-directors are Julie Buffett & Leeanne Guzzo. Obviously working with a limited budget and community drawn amateur thespians, they work around both challenges to make the play as audience enjoyable as they can. The set is not back-dropped and props are very basic, but by using the vehicle of having the show-within-the-show’s stage manager calling for scene set-ups, we know where the action is supposed to be taking place. Buffett & Guzzo rely heavily on their costume creators for some glorious and suitable outfits by Allison Buffett & Arlene Allington.. The directing team also receive a big contribution from their on-stage orchestra led by Dan Grieve. However, having a dozen instrumentalists perform is a definite projection challenge for the vocalists.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opens Friday Aug. 17th at the Citadel (ex DAC) on Rebecca Street, and has performances until the 26th. See it and chances are you’ll walk out humming & agreeing that “there’s no business like Show business” just like we did!