BroadwayWorld Review Annie Get Your Gun

Published: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 By: Kathryn Kitt Source: BroadwayWorld

What a treat to be in the audience at Westchester Broadway Theatre's new production of "Annie Get Your Gun," written and composed by Irving Berlin. The score is a musical treat of classics such as the songs "The Sun in the Morning," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and my new favorite "Moonshine Lullaby." I was informed by my father that the score was originally going to be composed by Jerome Kern of "Showboat" fame, but it seems impossible to truly imagine how that would have turned out, especially since the show is completely associated with Irving Berlin's legacy.

Fictionally based on the legendary Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter feminine firecracker of the 19th century, the story is a bit of a setback for feminism, for Annie has to pretend to be incompetent in order to win the heart of the dashing Frank Butler.  Originally created for Ethel Merman, It would seem obvious that she could belt "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" to the rafters, but I wondered how she floated high notes in such gems as "They say that Falling in Love is Wonderful." Thankfully, Devon Perry seems to be able to sing this score with so many colors, I wondered how to characterize her. She could be lyrical in the ballads and able to belt with the same ease. It was a tour de force! 
Adam Kemmerer as Frank Butler displayed real chemistry with Ms. Perry and had some lovely vocals with "The Girl I Marry." The 11 O' Clock number of "Anything You Can Do" did not disappoint, showcasing impressive physical and vocal achievements. The show was also ably supported by Sarah Cline  (Dolly), Kilty Reidy (Charlie Davenport),  Gary Lynch (Buffalo Bill), Marshall Factora (Chief Sitting Bull) and Kevin C. Loomis as Pawnee Bill. Haylie Shea Christiano (Little Jake), Hanna Jane Moore (Jessie Oakley) and Ruby Griffin (Nellie Oakley) nicely rounded out the cast as Annie's young siblings.

Director, Richard Stafford staged the show so that it popped with liveliness. There was a genuine love for the material that was brought out both by Kara Branch through her bright costume design and by Steve Loftus through his expert stage design.

The mix of the show was tight and the singing and ensembles were clearly enunciated, led by Shane Parus. The ensemble of triple threat performers tap danced and flowed seamlessly in "The Sun in the Morning" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" numbers. Krystyn Pope's choreography also gave each ensemble member a distinct personality and they did not melt into the scenery.

It was such a pleasure to see a good old-fashioned show in this day and age. To have a show with an overture and such a gem of a score it truly leaves one feeling good. It was a gift to expose my son to this production and he was most pleasantly surprised.