Annie Get Your Gun
by Senior Drama Camp at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanity
The fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, comes to life on stage this summer at the Arvada Center’s Senior Drama Camp. A skilled markswoman, Annie is asked to become part of a sharp-shooting contest against the star of a traveling Wild West show, Butler. Since she is enamored of him, she agrees to join. She is eventually recruited as a performer in the show, and thus begins their love affair. Over the course of the show, Butler, becomes enamored of the tomboyish Annie, too. Unfortunately, his ego is bruised- he becomes jealous when Annie becomes a star, and he walks out on her. There is a string of complications which keep Butler & Annie apart, but they are eventually brought together again for a predictable final shooting duel. She deliberately loses to him, soothes his ego, and everyone goes off happily ever after.
The appeal of “Annie Get Your Gun” lies is in the obvious star vehicle for the character of Annie & in its music. The stage version on Broadway starred the incomparable Ethel Merman. The original touring company starred Mary Martin, and modern-day touring revivals have had such talented actresses as Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire in the lead. And the Arvada Center’s production stars Danielle Click, who is a treasure in her own right. She is beautiful- in fact, she has eyes that sparkle like diamonds in the stage lights. This isn’t just a pretty face, though- strong vocals abound on almost every number, she is believable as both a young woman in love and a tomboy. She brings to the role a spark of her own, and is a credible and lovely young actress we hope to see in many roles to come.
Butler is played here by James Miller. His beautiful singing voice is a nice match for Click’s and he did a good job with the role of cocky Frank. He is strongest in “My Defenses Are Down”, a great “guy number” that the audience really enjoyed. There aren’t many things tougher than matching your shooting pantomime to an off-stage recorded gunshot, but he did it.
Notable performances from the supporting players are given by Taylor Rascher, who is enjoyable as Buffalo Bill Cody, Cipriano Ortega, a stitch as Sitting Bull (pulling off the corny “show business” line every time!), Katyie Wells as Dolly Tate (perfectly cast with a large presence- lovely, poised and completely snotty throughout), and Joelle Montoya is precious as her sister, Winnie.
And then there is the ensemble- they are in character and do their jobs as supporting characters wonderfully. One standout from the ensemble is the littlest guy in the crowd, Vincent Aure, who clearly showed definition to at least 3 different characters in the chorus. His expressions were spot-on and he never dropped character even once on stage, supporting the principal players as a seamless part of the production. And Kelly Oury as Jessie, Annie’s sister, is a hoot to watch. She moves from smoking a cigar to taking on a duet with Annie in the form of a lullaby.
The most enjoyable number has to be the perfectly choreographed “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”. With great pacing & timing, the number is the show’s best and a perfect showcase for Annie’s siblings.
The show was performed here with a recorded track, and the actor’s singing projection suffered from time to time on the solos and duets in particular. The sets were achieved by suggestion and signs. The cast is strong overall and it is apparent that the kids were dedicated to the success of the show. Congratulations to Doug Rosen & Rachel Turner, directors, on a great experience this summer at the Senior Drama Camp.
Performed August 4 & 5, 2007.
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Annie Oakley- Danielle Click
Frank Butler- James Miller
Dolly Tate- Katyie Wells
Tommy- Joe Goodwin
Winnie Tate- Joelle Montoya
Buffalo Bill Cody- Taylor Rascher
Sitting Bull- Cipriano Ortega
Mr. Wilson- Cory Ellison
Charlie- John Katona
Jessie- Kelly Oury
Nellie- Hallie Packard
Little Jake- Brian Guiducci
Nillie- Sarah Gunn
Millie- Stephanie Feruson
Tillie- Taylor Black
Heather Marie Fleischman
Kevin Forde Bunch
Doug Rosen - Director
Rachel Turner - Assistant Director/Music Direction
Jeff Schreiner - Assistant Director/Student Intern
Hillary Feierstein - Choreographer
Costuming by the cast