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Annie Get Your Gun
mebody oughta sue. While principals sing and speak downstage in 'Annie Get Your Gun,' the chorus is busy upstaging the action. Whatever director and co-choreographer Graciela Daniele had in mind, the revival at the Marquis Theatre is distracting, desultory, dreary, and filled with derivative dancing.With terrific music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a deft book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, the show was a smash hit back in 1946. Starring as sharpshooter Annie Oakley was the incomparable Ethel Merman, and it's to Bernadette Peters' credit that she scores her own success. Romantic without being cloying, a feminist without being militant, combining innocence and maturity with spot-on timing, Peters gives a star turn that reinforces her position at the top of the musical ladder. But, as adorably sassy and vulnerable as she is, she can't do it alone.Peter Stone's updated book kids its own political correctness at having to excise all possibly offensive American Indian jargon, turning that into an asset by changing the subplot to reflect a society's prejudices, and smoothly repositioning some songs. Yet, by framing the production as if it were a tale told by Buffalo Bill, he distances the audience from the story. Add Daniele's over-kill staging, with its faint Brechtian whiffs of the more substantial 'Chicago' and 'Side Show,' and you're left with a valentine to 'no business like show business' that's smug, unsure, redundant, and remote.When left alone, some numbers are smashing: 'Lost in His Arms' is lovely; 'An Old-Fashioned Wedding,' written by Berlin for the 1966 revival, stops the show cold, thanks to Peters' inspired fooling with the full-voiced, easygoing Tom Wopat as Frank Butler.Featured players Ron Holgate, Valerie Wright, Peter Marx, Ronn Carroll, Gregory Zaragoza, Andrew Palermo, and Nicole Ruth Snelson give standard performances, and there's little excitement in the sets by Tony Walton, costumes by William Ivey Long, or lighting by Beverly Emmons. Co-choreographer is Jeff Calhoun, another experienced professional who should know better. For a change in these overmiked days, the audio level is tolerable, thanks to G. Thomas Clark's sound desig
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