BWW Review: WILD WEST SPECTACULAR at Eight O'Clock Theater

BWW Review: WILD WEST SPECTACULAR at Eight O'Clock Theater

Under the masterful direction of Linda Woodruff Weir, Eight O' Clock Theater has given us a Broadway-worthy production in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. This musical, unblemished by poor casting, showcases both beautiful costumes of technicolor wonder by Terri Rick; a set by Tom Hansen, minimal, but with seamless transitions; interesting choreography by James Grenelle and Jonathan Pouliot; special effects that were fun to watch; an extraordinary orchestra conducted by Jeremy D. Silverman that didn't overwhelm the vocals, and the voices unmarred by a single note of discord.

And it had a score by Irving Berlin, leads in Sadra Bostick and Brian Yarbrough, who I truly believe I would listen sing "It's A Small World After All," one of the most hated songs in musical history - and love every second and probably ask for more.

Sadra was Annie Oakley, the backwoods urchin who couldn't read, but was an incredible sharpshooter and becomes a global superstar while Brian was her celebrity marksman competition and love interest Frank. When I say WAS, I mean I can no more picture another actor in those rolls than I can eat gluten. Sadra and Brian are permanently seared into my memory as Annie and Frank.

The plot of the musical might perturb a few true feminists, but keep in mind it debuted in 1946, just 26 years after women gained the right to vote. Annie falls hard for Frank and wants to be his wife, but he wants a lady not a grubby tomboy, so she obliges.

When she transforms from a sharpshooter urchin to Frank's "pink" lady in the second act, she never lets the audience forget that there's a wildcat lurking beneath the silks and lace. Though Annie does throw her game to win the love of Frank and save the struggling Wild West Show that she and Frank star in, Frank does return the favor for a perfect happy ending.

Their duets "They Say It's Wonderful," and their counterpoint song "An Old-Fashioned Wedding" showcased their beautiful vocals, but it was my favorite "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better," that cemented the reason they were leads. The two spots where they go both higher and hold the note longer had the audience burst into well-deserved applause.

But there was so much more than just Annie and Frank.

There's also Dolly Tate, the obnoxious controlling older sister of Winnie and assistant to Frank, played perfectly by Sarah Hirshman Libes. Stu Stanford made Buffalo Bill Cody with his white long hair and moustache and goatee. In suspenders and button down, Jeffrey M. Lukas was Charlie Daveport, the organizer of the Wild West Show with a stunning voice. Winnie Tate (Rebekah Stevenson) and her half-Indian love Tommy Keeler (Wil Toro) were perfectly matched and had a beautiful song with the ensemble in "I'll Share It All With You."

Truly, I could list every cast member. Down to the adorable young siblings of Annie in seventh grader Michelle Chrien, second grader Scarlett Troncone, and the youngest debuting, Ryder Yarbrough, I meant it when I said this show was exceptionally cast.

Having not been a fan of American History in high school and having no history with a western musical, I did not know what to expect. I didn't research the synopsis because I wanted to be surprised.

I truly was. It was such a fun, big-hearted production with grand song and dance numbers. Kudos to Sean Quinn for perfect sound design and Dalton Hamilton for lighting perfection that highlighted the cast.

I loved watching the audience mouthing familiar lyrics, bobbing their heads to the signature group tune "There's No Business Like Show Business," which began and closed the show.

With this wonderfully crafted production, running for only two more days, Eight O' Clock Theatre proves with a cast as talented as this, there IS no business like show business. Run - don't walk - to get your tickets.

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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

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