‘Annie’ bright, bold and the best

  • <b>REVIEW | </b>By Dale Burrows for The Weekly Herald
  • Tuesday, December 27, 2011 9:39pm
  • Life

They can do up close and personal (“On Golden Pond”). They can do social commentary (“Take Me America”). But they do big, bold and bright best (“Tommy”).

Here, however, Village is at their best doing what they do best.

Of the “Annie Get Your Guns” I’ve seen, this one is, by far, the biggest, brightest, boldest and best.

Village’s Kidstage-trained, now nationally known pro Vicki Noon puts a powerful, modern-day Annie to be reckoned with front and center. Noon is a middle soprano with operatic capability, standout standup-comedy talent and an audience-winning way. She’s got star written all over her.

Think Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler (“Gone With the Wind,” film version), and you’ve got a fair idea of Dane Stokinger’s Frank Butler. Stokinger endows Annie’s all-man, cowboy-swaggering, womanizing love interest with Gable’s manly vulnerability. Curtain up to curtain down, you pull for Stokinger to wake up.

As for the Wild, Wild West at its woolliest, don’t miss Hugh Hastings holding forth as the voice and presence of the legendary Buffalo Bill. High, mighty and with P.T. Barnum showmanship, Hastings juices the greatest show on earth.

Dance numbers are 100 percent time-period appropriate, bursting with energy and athletically breath-taking.

Choreography by Steve Tomkins and Kristin Culp is kaleidoscopically dazzling. Patterns arrange and rearrange in the wink of an eye.

Talk about staging. In seconds, Village transports you from the deck of a barge in New York Harbor to a ballroom in a five-star hotel. Film can’t manage scene changes more smoothly.

This is fast-paced but easy-to-follow excitement, emphasis on show-biz glam.

I would like more attention to diction. Emotion sometimes overpowers key lyrics.

Also, for me, a hint of anticlimax disturbs the ending.

However, that is arguing with perfection; and this “Annie Get Your Gun” is the nearest thing to perfection I’ve ever seen.

Highly recommended for all ages.

Reactions? Comments? Email Dale Burrows at grayghost7@comcast.net or entertainment@weeklyherald.com.

‘Annie Get Your Gun’

WHEN: Jan. 6 to 29

WHERE: Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett

TICKETS: 425-257-8600 or www.villagetheatre.org

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