Rollicking western at SMT
Rollicking western at SMT
by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Annie Get Your Gun
Directed by Brandon Ivie
Seattle Musical Theatre (formerly CLO)
Through May 25

Annie Get Your Gun at Seattle Musical Theatre is a rousing and fun trip back to old Westerns and old show biz. The sorta true story of Annie Oakley, a crack shot with a rifle, and her association with Buffalo Bill's traveling tent show, includes her romance with Frank Butler.

The musical has some of the most memorable songs. Ones that have gotten out of their music box and become part of the national consciousness, like "No Business Like Show Business," "I've Got the Sun in the Morning," and "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)." Brandon Ivie casts a large, energetic cast with lots of good singing voices and athletic dance steps. He does fairly well in choreographing the dance numbers, but his forte is in bringing out the best in his singers.

Ashley Fitzsimmons (Annie Oakley) is a tiny girl with a big voice. She towers under the Frank Butler lead, James Padilla, the perfect romantic lead. It makes for an odd visual appearance, but there's no question that they overcome that small detail. Fitzsimmons has the right voice for the songs, first made famous by Ethel Merman, able to do lullabies and belters with equal ease. Padilla, too, has the vocal chops to match and is easy on the eyes, if you like tall, dark and handsome. They prove it in the last song, "Anything You Can Do."

Other standouts are Jenny Shotwell and Arthur Allen, who are the secondary love story. The costumer, Deane Middleton, does a great job dressing the cast in multiple costumes as the story moves from the Dust Bowl to France. The set designer, Andrea Bush, creates a proscenium arch of Western art and a background of similar canvases, of sorts. It's a bit on the overdone side. Paul Linnes, Resident Music Director, provides outstanding accompaniment with a seven-person orchestra. In particular, he doesn't make the music more important than the singer, which is not always the case in many musicals around town.

It's a shame that the theater space at Magnuson Park isn't attended to so that the sound system works well, and they really need an air conditioner. But if that is where we have to go to see this lovely production, well, we have to put up with it.

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