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Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Monday, August 18, 2003

Annie Get Your Gun
Depot Theatre, Westport NY
From Friday, August 15 to Sunday, September 7, 2003

The production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at the Depot Theatre is worth a trip to Westport. Filled with great Irving Berlin songs, the show makes a good family outing. I'm constantly amazed at how many people and how much action can comfortably fit on the stage at the Depot.

Shaun Carter's set is functional and clever. There's just enough of it to suggest each location without filling up the stage. I especially liked the train seats with their conversion to bunks, and the transformation of the boarding house to the deck of a cattle boat. James Coleman's lighting and Jean Brookman's costumes are excellent.

Musical Director Norma Curley does a sensitive and supportive job at the piano, assisted at times by a cowboy on the snare drum. The use of flute and guitar onstage in Act II adds a nice touch, and the ensemble numbers sound really good, especially the opening.

Laurie Brongo has come up with some nifty choreography. There are some clever hat tricks, and the gentlemen of the ensemble are terrific during "My Defenses Are Down". Miss Brongo has created delightful staging for "Who Do You Love, I Hope", which takes advantage of the dance ability of Kris Kane as Winnie and Matthew Hardy as Tommy.

The cast is generally strong. Paul C. Kelly is excellent as Charlie. He's a true triple threat - a singer, a dancer, and a believable actor. Jerry Gallagher has a towering and genial presence as Buffalo Bill. Debora Rascoe is very good as Dolly Tate. She's a good actress and bases her character in reality with never a slip into a cartoon.

As Frank Butler, Kevin B. McGlynn certainly has the vocal power for the role. However he plays the macho Frank without letting us see any trace of vulnerability. One wonders what the attraction is. Mr. McGlynn seems disconnected from everyone else on the stage, except briefly Annie during "Anything You Can Do".

As for Annie, Silva Mateosian knocked my socks off. Not only does she have a powerful voice, (dare I say "Mermanesque?), but she's a really strong actress. Her Annie is thoroughly believable and has a wonderful innocent quality. "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", sung with the kids, is great fun and the kids, especially Sam Balzac as Little Jake, are very good. "Moonshine Lullaby", also with the kids plus a male trio, is lovely. In fact all Miss Mateosian's songs are just terrific. Her performance of "I Got Lost in His Arms" is the best I've seen.

Well, enough raving. The show was directed by Jennifer Jones Cavenaugh who has put together a solid and lively production of a musical theatre classic. She's kept her cast on the path of realism, and has struck a nice balance between that and the basic lightness of the musical form. With this show the Depot Theatre maintains its reputation for quality theatre.

On a scale of one to five, the Depot Theatre production of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN gets four and three-fourths boxcars. For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.

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