Theater Info for the Washington DC region

West Springfield High School Annie Get Your Gun

By • May 4th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

West Springfield High School’s production proved the age-old belief that “There’s No Business like Show Business” with their production of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. Coincidentally another name of a song in the musical made the audience only “do what came natur’lly” in loving their production.

This musical was first a book by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy Fields, and then it was later turned into a musical with lyrics and music written by Irving Berlin. The story is based of the life of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter from Ohio and her husband Frank Butler. It chronicles their life when they both were the best sharpshooters in the world, and premiered in 1946 on Broadway. When it returned for its revival in 1990 it won the Tony Award for the Best Revival. The New York Post called it “Irving Berlin’s greatest achievement in the theatre” and commented that it will “always be a musical for the ages, one of Broadway theatre’s enduring triumphs.” Well, West Springfield didn’t disappoint with their rendition.

Erin Cafferky was the lead of this musical playing the famous Annie Oakley, and she sure did come on with a bang, literally. While Annie might not have been able to “get a man with a gun” Erin sure could get the audience with her strong singing voice and her well-done acting. John Novalis played Frank Butler, and from his opening solo he captured the audience’s attention with his looks and charm. There was obvious chemistry between the two leads, which reached its peak at “Anything You Can Do.” Henry Dodge was a sure-fire hit as Buffalo Bill Cody, the old, lovable Colonel. Ashley Ferraro, Beth Clapsaddle and J.D. Fortney were adorable as Annie’s siblings. The whole cast got the audience’s “defenses down” and stole their heart.

There was also noticeable chemistry between Kara Crompton and Sabah Sabah, playing Winnie Tate and her part Native American love Tommy Keeler. Kara managed to keep her composure while singing even though her mic wasn’t functioning correctly. Winnie’s sister Dolly Tate was played by Caitlin Jackson, who was hilarious as the single woman who just couldn’t take a hint that she wasn’t “the girl he marries.” The ensemble was energetic and pulled the show together magnificently.

It was a very technical show, using more than a dozen body mics and follow spots, and it’s understandable that there were a few glitches. But the cast overcame those obstacles with composure and managed to pull of an excellent, enjoyable show. The set was intricate and detailed and was moved flawlessly by the unheard and unseen stage crew. The effects were done well, as there were many gunshots and tricks, and West Springfield’s production pulled most of them off without any mistakes. The costumes were mostly appropriate and added authenticity to the show and brought the audience further into the story of Annie, Frank and the world of sharpshooting.

West Springfield hit the bulls-eye by not only pulling off this dated musical and yet still making it authentic, but also by managing to capture and keep the audience’s attention, therefore winning the audience’s heart as the prize. The whole cast pulled together to put on this amazing show and had a lead who was charming, enchanting and a delight to watch! With well-choreographed huge dance numbers, beautiful singing and amazing chemistry, West Springfield made the audience “say it’s wonderful.”

by Maya Allicock of Washington International School

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