Dinner and a movie. Better yet, dinner and a live show! What better way to spend an evening? And Annie Get Your Gun is designed to give you exactly that!
Can a woman get a man with a gun? Set Designer and Director Bill Kiska transforms the theatre stage magnificently to take us back to the early 1900 western days to answer that exact question. The set changes are smooth, rapid, and elegantly effective.
Kiska’s partnership with Costume Designers Jessica Billones and Samn Huffer serve as a triple threat. The costumes are gorgeous. The vibrant colors, frills and fringes are eye candy and have you desiring to live in that era.
With this being an Irving Berlin’s musical, theatre guests awaited the tunes and dances, and Choreographer Dee Buchanan did not disappoint. The opening number-a ballroom scene and company numbers were fun, tight, and creatively choreographed. They were the true highlight of the evening for me.
Director Bill Kiska has a wonderful cast of talented actors, singers, and dancers to work with to help him bring this American theater favorite to life. Jordan B. Stocksdale, as Frank Butler, the star sharp-shooter, nails the character and the songs. His opening solo “I’m A Bad, Bad Man” sets the stage of great anticipation. The gradual build of the popular “There’s No Business Like Show Business” surely is an anthem for both Annie and Frank and everyone in the cast who loves to appear in a show. It was well sung and danced by all.
His counterpart, Jaimie Lea Kiska kept us in stitches with her wit, accent, mannerisms, and musical skills. She tapped into our emotions, leaving us sympathetic as she crooned “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” supportive as she “duet-ed” with Stocksdale on their teasing, flirty rendition of “Anything You Can Do,” and made us feel romantic as as she sang “They Say It’s Wonderful.’ Her portrayal was strong, and her costumes were beautiful, although her wig was a little bit overwhelming.
Mallory Rome (Winnie Tate) became my favorite. Her stage movement was graceful, her voice was melodious, and her intimate scenes were believable. Her song, “Who Do You Love, I Hope,” shared with co-star Thomas Stratton (Tommy) was harmonious and upbeat, and included great Dance With the Stars-like choreography.
The ensemble is very talented and has great energy and chemistry. Kudos to Sarah Briggs, Mary Ellen Cameron, Charlie Cizek, Daniel Haper, Ariel Hanke, Melissa Ann Martin, and Matthew A. Mastromatteo. They lit up the stage with over-the-top showmanship during their dance numbers.
Way Off Broadway’s Annie Get Your Gun starts off with a huge bang (no pun intended) and ends with one!! You’ll find yourself wanting to jump on stage to join in on the fun, and in hopes of being in show business, and sporting one of those phenomenal costumes! You will surely leave with your bellies full, your hearts happy, and the confidence that you can shoot for your own happiness! You might even hum a song or two on the way home.
Running time: Two hours and 15 minutes, with one intermission.