Total Rating: 
September 14, 2017
January 18, 2018
New York
Westchester Broadway Theater
Theater Type: 
Regional; Dinner Theater
Westchester Broadway Theater
Theater Address: 
1 Broadway Plaza
Running Time: 
2 hrs, 30 min
Music & lyrics: Irving Berlin; Book: Herbert & Dorothy Fields
Richard Stafford
Richard Stafford

Like Taming of the Shrew, the premise of Annie Get Your Gun may be uncomfortable for modern audiences to embrace. After all, don’t we know now that if the only way to get a man is to pretend you’re not as good as he is, maybe he’s not worth getting? There are also some pretty insensitive comments about Native Americans. Our modern-day enlightenment has to be pushed to one side so we can enjoy this legendary show.

Front and center in this production as Annie is Devon Perry. She is absolutely — sorry, there’s no other word for it — adorable. She brings to mind Reba McEntire, who won acclaim playing the feisty country girl on Broadway. Perry has a great voice, which she uses to great advantage in both the rip-roaring moments and those which are more introspective. But more importantly, she brings a combination of earnestness, optimism, and electric energy that is utterly refreshing. It’s not easy to put your own stamp on a role that’s been played by, among others, Debbie Reynolds, Susan Lucci, and Bernadette Peters, who won a Tony playing Annie in the revival. I predict great things for Ms. Perry.

Adam Kemmerer gives us a much better natured Frank Butler than we often experience. It’s plain to see why Annie falls for him. Too often this role is played with rampant hostility (think Tom Wopat). Kemmerer adds humor to his swagger, and projects a real likeability. Frank Butler is a jerk, but here, in his electric blue shirt and singing his heart out, we do kind of root for him to get the girl.

The rest of the cast members perform admirably, with a couple of over-the-top exceptions. The girls in the ensemble are exuberant and very pretty, a joy to watch. The pace is good; in a show like this, a lag is fatal. Everyone does a credible job to bring to life Annie’s motto, “Aim at a high mark, and you will hit it!”

Esteemed director Joshua Logan directed the show originally. It premiered at the Imperial Theater in 1946, and ran for 1,147 performances. The inimitable Ethel Merman starred in the title role; Mary Martin brought her own special talents to the lady gunslinger when she toured the country in 1947. Chocked full of now familiar tunes including “There’s no Business Like Show Business,” “Doin’ What Comes Natura’lly,” “The Girl That I Marry” and “Anything You Can Do,” Annie Get Your Gun has well earned a spot in the theater pantheon of great musicals.

Devon Perry (Annie Oakley); Adam Kemmerer (Frank Butler); Kilty Reidy (Charlie Davenport); Sarah Cline (Dolly); Gary Lynch (Buffalo Bill); Kevin C. Loomis (Pawnee Bill); Marshall Factora (Sitting Bull); Joseph Cullinane, Michael Dauer, James Spencer Dean, Shanna Heverly, Lucy Horton, Ryan Kleinman, Kevin Loreque, Sophie Lee Morris, Lizzy Palmer, Joey Rodriguez, Brittany Williams
Set: Steven Loftus; Lighting: Andrew Gmoser; Costumes: Kara Branch
Michall Jeffers
Date Reviewed: 
September 2017