Review: Rootin’ Tootin’ Fun with RVC&O’s ‘Annie Get Your Gun’

The cast of Rose Valley Chorus and Orchestra’s “Annie Get Your Gun.”

By Lisa Panzer

RVC&O’s Spring offering, ‘Annie Get Your Gun’, is a fun filled perennial favorite. Stage Director Sally Foster Chang, Music Director and Conductor Florrie Marks, choreographer Cathy Bramanti, and talented cast and crew have put together an action- packed show for all ages to enjoy, featuring famously familiar musical numbers such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun”.  In this hit Broadway musical, written by Ivring Berlin in the middle of 1940, sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Courtney Boches) never misses when she aims to shoot something, but must learn how to adjust her sights when she falls in love with hotshot shooter Frank Butler (David Price). To target Frank’s heart Annie shucks her backwoods weeds for rhinestones and ribbons, fixes her hair, but the real challenge come when she has to decide whether to win shooting match or a love match.  Meanwhile, she makes sure to take care of both her kin and her show family by trying to save Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show.

The ensemble’s charm and exuberance prevail in this extravagantly costumed (Judy McDermott & Linda Penston, Kim & Tina Dahms, Courtney Boches, Janice Manley, MJ Clark, Reba Ferdman) bustling, high spirited romantic musical, revised by Peter Stone in 1999.  Boches and Price give terrific voice and panache to the battle of the sexes as Annie and Frank, particularly during their number “Anything You Can Do”, while the interaction between Joe Cerisi as Charlie Davenport and Trudy Graboyes as Dollie Tate is hilarious.  Michael J. Krencicki’s handsome voice rings out as Tommy Keeler wooing Winnie Tate, who is wonderfully portrayed by Tess Cherlin, especially in their song and dance number “I’ll share it All With You”. Chief Sitting Bull is is a real pistol as played by Alan M. Alvarez, garnering lots of laughs, and perhaps a few sweet sighs as he shares his caring and insights with his adopted daughter Annie. Entertainment and excitement pour forth from the stage.

A smartly designed set (Lawrence Hicks), which rearranges easily between scenes, imbues the play with a sense a time and place, but is careful not to upstage the action, succeeding marvelously in facilitating and highlighting activities onstage. The lighting scheme (Kathy Mitchel) complements the set and staging nicely, and the props add authenticity to the production.  All of these elements came together distinctly well during Tommy and Winnie’s knife throwing act. As mentioned earlier, the costuming is spectacular, embellishing the entire production with color and sparkle.

Original Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin

Revised by Peter Stone

Remaining performances are April 5, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and April 8 at 2 p.m. at Strath Haven Middle School, 200 South Providence Road (Route 252) Wallingford. For information, call 610-565-5010 (recorded message/voice mail) or visit rvco.org.