Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Theater can transport actors and audience members to places they never thought they could go. That is the magic of a live performance. The court of King Arthur, Anetevka, Neverland, Oklahoma… and now the “Wild, wild west” of Annie Oakley and Colonel Buffalo Bill.
Often thought to be Irving Berlin’s masterpiece, Annie Get Your Gun first stepped onto Broadway in 1946, produced by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. It ran at the Imperial Theater for 1,146 performances, a record for its day.
Annie Get Your Gun has seen many revivals in the nearly 60 years since it was first seen, including a 2002 Tony award winning production starring Bernadette Peters. One of the reasons for its ability to connect with audiences over the past half century is the music.
There are times in theater when you recognizes one, maybe two songs in the score of a musical, not so with Annie Get Your Gun. The score is brimming with familiar, lilting music such as “Do’in What Comes Naturally”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better”, and “The Girl That I Marry”. Rounding out all the toe-tapping music and lively, country dancing are well-defined, likable characters including the effervescent, vivacious Annie Oakley, played in the TCP rendition by veteran actress, Molly Riva.
Molly was last seen on the TCP stage as Fastrada, the scheming wife of Charlemagne, in Pippin. She also directed the recent production of Annie at Allegheny Highlands Regional Theater and was a featured dancer in ACT’s production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
Playing Annie’s love interest in the musical is Tyrone resident, Bill Markley, Fastrada’s son Lewis in last season’s production of Pippin. The cast of principal characters is rounded out by Katie Kensinger, seen as one of the stepsisters in Cinderella, an ensemble member in Pippin and the featured swing dancer in GI Jukebox, as Dolly Tate. Gary Johnson of Pump Boys and Dinettes, Fiddler on the Roof, Sherwood and Pippin fame will play Buffalo Bill while Lisa Myers of Philipsburg who portrayed the Queen in Cinderella and was in the ensemble of Pippin portrays Pawnee Jill. The rest of the cast includes Rob Decker as Charlie Davenport, Corey Linton as Chief Sitting Bull, Travis Bell as Mac and Eli Wood portraying Little Jake. Nellie will be created by Casey Joniell and Catherine Hommer will play Minnie.
The ensemble includes Eric Dimemmo, Rich Volpe, Mitch Bloom, Maura Murphy, Kaleena Rallis, Katie Riley, Gina Volpe, Suzie Walls, Meghan Wilt, RJ Beck, Emily Letsche and Rhett Walls.
This cast of rollicking, dancing and sharp shooting cowpokes is under the direction of Jonathan O’Harrow. Jonathan previously directed Steel Magnolias for TCP and has performed as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, was seen in Music, Magic and Memories, Pippin and was the accompanist for The Taffettas.
Annie Get Your Gun, the second show in TCP’s 21st season, will be presented on March 4-5 at the Tyrone High School auditorium at 8 p.m. For reservations or ticket information, phone the ArtsLine at 684-ART2.

By Rick