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Annie Get Your Gun

a Musical Comedy
by Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin; Book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 2388

SHOWING : August 09, 2007 - September 09, 2007



Irving Berlin’s wild west musical masterpiece tells the tale of American pioneer Annie Oakley featuring hit song after hit song: Doin’ What Comes Naturally, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better and There’s No Business Like Show Business. There’s no better way to start our first full season in Gwinnett’s Home for the Performing Arts.

Director Susan Reid
Tommy Keeler Ricardo Aponte
Dolly Tate Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Annie Oakley Natasha Drena
Ensemble Angela Nicole Harris
Pawnee Bill Luis Hernandez
Winnie Tate Sims Lamason
Frank Butler Rob Lawhon
Jessie Oakley Autumn E. Lowery
Ensemble Jeremy McShan
Col. Buffalo Bill Anthony Rodriguez
Chief Sitting Bull Spencer G. Stephens
Charlie Davenport Geoff Uterhardt
Foster Wilson Rachel D. White
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


“Annie Mic Your Gun”
by line!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Let me start off with the statement that my wife and I really enjoyed this show (so much so, that we signed up for season tickets on the spot)! We went to see it for a number of reasons: check out the new Aurora “Castle”; see, and support, some friends in the cast; and get my card punched for seeing a classic musical that I’ve never seen before. Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “But Rial, how can you be a theatre geek without ever having seen “Annie Get Your Gun”?” (In fact I have never claimed to be a theatre geek, only a theatre slut).

This production was solid and well oiled. It flowed smoothly and effortlessly from scene to scene with an impressive demonstration of creative staging and blocking. There were also a number of cool stage tricks, including an aerialist rope trick with Annie shooting at targets while swinging from a rope high above the stage. Dangerous, but very cool!

This was a very talented cast stuffed with great voices, good actors and fluid dancers. Not everyone could do everything, but those that could, did. And did it well! OK, I admitted I came to support some friends in the cast, and after this performance, I am proud to say I know them (they, of course, will deny ever knowing me). To Babs, Googie, Anthony, Sims, Spencer and Allison, you guys rock! Wonderful work from all of you! Rob Lawhon was a solid counterpoint to Annie, and has a good voice which he used effectively. The only critique: I felt he was a little too “civilized” in his mannerisms and could have used a little more “machismo”. The rest of the cast was also solid and made a great and powerful ensemble in addition to their featured individual scenes, songs and characters.

And now for the surprising delight of my visit to this show: Natasha Drena. This gal has got it all! Her commanding stage presence, radiant energy and magnificent voice add up to a wonderful treat for any audience. I, for one, felt like I was seeing a true star in the making. (I just realized this sounds like a stage mother praising her junior high daughter’s beauty pageant performance – sorry about the clichés, but it is how I feel). Don’t miss the chance to see her if she graces another local musical production!

As for the look of the show, the costumes were good, and fit the actors well. I especially liked the Ballroom costumes. The lighting was accurate, effective and appropriately executed. However, the sets were not up to the quality of the costumes or the venue. I know they were supposed to be “rustic”, but they looked more like the result of “community theatre” budget and construction skill. They weren’t bad, just not up to the same high quality as other elements in the show.

Speaking of quality in the show, I must make special mention of the band. The music was excellently performed and perfectly orchestrated. The blend of the instruments with the voices was also very well done.

From what I have read, the show was written with that demure little wallflower Ethel Merman as the intended Annie Oakley all along. She made the role her signature and made Broadway history at the same time. And she did it all without wearing a microphone! Just imagine the heights she could have achieved if she’d only used a mic!

Micing is a pet peeve of mine. I understand the need for it (especially in a venue as large as the new Aurora space), and I often recommend the use of it (based on a performers abilities), but for this show, and this production, in particular I felt it hurt the artistic quality of the performance. The use of mics allowed the singers to hold back on their energy. They were able to finesse the songs when (in my opinion), the songs deserved more power, projection and energy. While the technical functioning and implementation of the micing in this show was excellent (no accidental broadcast of backstage comments or clothes rustling, etc.), the tonality of the voices became “canned” and sounded less than natural to me. I said it was a pet peeve didn’t I? Now that I have petted the peeve, I’ll move on.

In summation, I will say this: It was a solid production of a classic musical performed by an able cast (with a little bit of help from Audio-Technica).



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