ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, as revised by Peter Stone
Plaza Theatre Company
Directed by Kyle Macy
Musical Direction by Kristin Spires
Choreography by Eddie Floresca
Stage Management by Aaron Dawn Shultz and Shauna Lewis
Costume Design by Tina Barrus
Lighting Design by JaceSon Barrus
Sound Design by G. Aaron Siler
Set Design by Kyle Macy and JaceSon Barrus
Prop Design by Milette Siler
Dance Captain - Tabitha Barrus
Frank Butler - JaceSon P. Barrus
Col. Buffalo Bill Cody - G. Aaron Siler
Dolly Tate - Kristi Taylor
Tommy Keeler - Jonathan Metting
Winnie Tate - Betsy Wilson, Natalie Willingham
Charlie Davenport - Jay Lewis
Chief Sitting Bull - Solomon Abah
Foster Wilson - James Long
Mrs. Foster Wilson - Sherry Clark
Mac, The Prop Man - Glen Turner
Mary - Jennifer Fortson
Jane - Suzi Hanford
Annie Oakley - Daron Cockerell
Jessie, Annie's Little Sister - Dana Siler, Lillie Dewer
Nelson, Annie's Little Brother - Cameron Barrus
Little Jake, Annie's Little Brother - Eden Barrus
Running Deer - Zack Fountain
Eagle Feather - Eduardo Aguilar
Pawnee Bill - James Long
Mrs. Sylva Potter -Porter - Kasi Hollowell
Reviewed Performance 2/12/2011
Reviewed by Lyle Huchton, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
In their mission statement, Plaza Theatre Company states that it is their intent to "enrich the community with high quality, family- friendly entertainment that warms the heart, uplifts the spirit, and tells worthy stories." They certainly have not strayed from their intended path but have blazed a new trail with their current production of Annie Get Your Gun playing until March 12 at their theater Cleburne.
Annie Get Your Gun was conceived and written in 1946 by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy as a vehicle for Broadway legend Ethel Merman. It tells a fictionalized story about true life sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler. With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin it produced some of musical theaters greatest hits including "There's No Business Like Show Business", "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun", and "Anything You Can Do".
Director Kyle Macy blew the dust off this musical theater "warhorse" with clever staging, a smart set design, and a very youthful but enthusiastic chorus ensemble. Mr. Macy took full advantage of the theater in the round setting with the use projections on the walls to establish time and place. He, with the help of co-set designer JaceSon Barrus, created several large rolling crates that became the needed furniture, playing levels, and prop storage for each scene. These crates allowed for quick changes of the scenery that kept the action moving.
In scenes that called for use of the full ensemble, Mr. Macy, again taking advantage of every inch of usable space, lined them up in the aisles and up the seating platforms as not to clutter the playing area. By employing this type of careful and inventive staging he kept the focus on the interplay of the relationships that were happening on stage.
It would be difficult to try and follow in the footsteps of legendary performers as Ethel Merman and Bernadette Peters both whoplayed Annie Oakley on Broadway.
Daron Cockerell put her own unique stamp on the character of
the famous lady sharpshooter. Her endearing rendition of "Doin'
What Comes Natur'lly" left me smitten. She followed through with
a slightly melancholic version of "You Can't Get a Man With a
Gun" and then went toe to toe with JaceSon Barrus, as Frank Butler, with a feisty "Anything You Can Do." Ms. Cockerell delivered an
Annie Oakley that was smart, energetic, and original.
JaceSon Barrus made a strong impression as Frank Butler, Annie's intended and future husband. Mr. Barrus gave a natural ease to the character. Not only did he show Frank's strength but showed a softer side to him that was refreshing.
Mr. Barrus and Ms. Cockerell were outfitted with body mics that I am not quite sure were necessary given both had strong and credible singing voices. In the case of Ms. Cockerell, it produced an un-natural quality to her speaking voice and at times seemed to be coming from offstage.
Other memorable performances were Soloman Abah as Chief Sitting Bull, Jonathan Metting as Tommy Keeler, and G. Aaron Siler as Col. Buffalo Bill Cody.
When it comes to Western themed musicals, I had seen costumers take the easy route by outfitting the men in bib overalls, modern cut blue jeans, and hideous plaid shirts that are made even more so with the addition of glowing white polyester cow-gal fringe.
The women got worse treatment by having to endure faded and thread-bare 1980's Jessica McClintok prairie-style dresses appropriately named the gunny sack. If that was not bad enough, they would then be crowned with craft store straw hats that appear to had been snatched out of Grandma's "Kountry" themed decorated kitchen.
Costume Designer Tina Barrus did not allow this cast to suffer such grotesque atrocities. She avoided these trappings by possessing a great respect and command for the process of costuming. What Ms. Barrus did was start with the proper period silhouette. She then started to add accessories to each costume to enhance characterization. Staying true to the productions time period, Ms.
Barrus used high button shoes, spats, hatpins, cut-away coats, and ball gowns festooned with flowers. She also maintained the theme of the piece without the use of a single pair of blue jeans or a predictable calico dress. Considering the number of costumes I witnessed crossing the stage that evening this was quite a feat indeed.
Annie Get Your Gun marked my fourth visit to Plaza Theatre Company. Each time I have left the theater completely amazed. Not only do they raise the bar high for other area theaters, but they raise it high for themselves. Each time they have succeeded in reaching for that high bar. They have done so because of their hard work, their commitment, and their humility.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Plaza Theatre Company, 111 S. Main, Cleburne, Texas 76033
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday @ 7:30
Saturday Matinee @ 3:00
through March 12
For more info call 817-202-0600 or visit www.plaza-theatre.com