WAUKESHA - Most women enjoy
a tale where a woman bests a man, especially one whose ego is inflated.
This was the case in the
story of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter who displayed her skills in a competition
with the mighty Frank Butler, a man who believed himself unparalleled in
shooting and in his appeal to women. The ending is a little disappointing as
Annie capitulates to his fragile ego, but one still believes that Annie is too
strong and too smart to ever be vanquished.
The Fireside Dinner
Theatre’s “Annie Get Your Gun” proves that some of the old standard
musicals, this one following on the
tails of the very successful “Oklahoma!,” will continue to capture modern
Opening in 1946, it has been
revived many times and most of the songs that tell the story have endured on
their own, including “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “They Say
That Falling in Love Is Wonderful,” “I Got the Sun in the Morning” and
“Anything You Can Do” being among the best.
“The Girl That I Marry”
is the most dated conceptually. One number, “I Got Lost in His Arms,” is
quite lovely, and one wonders why that one never became a hit. I guess a lot
depends on who records it.
The show has an untamed
quality about it, and captures the world of entertainment long before TV, movies
and more advanced technologies began to dominate. The Wild West shows even
pre-dated and were threatened by circuses and other traveling venues.
Part of the delight of the
production is the casting of Jon Reinhold as Frank Butler and Maggie McDowell as
Annie. Butler’s sonorous voice is splendid, and coupled with the combination
of vanity, swagger and vulnerability in his personality makes him obnoxious and
endearing. McDowell’s spunk, confidence and naivete keep us intrigued
Two other actors who are
well-suited to their roles are Erika Amato as the bristly Dolly Tate and Roy
Richardson as the wise and amusing Chief Sitting Bull.
KyLee and Mequire Hennes
also rendered their roles beautifully as Annie’s little charges.
The spirited dances, under
the direction of choreographer Buddy Reeder, are very well- executed. It never
ceases to amaze me how such complex routines can be so flawlessly performed on
Fireside’s relatively small space, but I have yet to see a dancer go flying
into the audience, which is a good thing.
“Annie Get Your Gun” is
nearing the end of its run (June 9), so take a relaxing ride to Fort Atkinson to
enjoy this very entertaining show, relish a tasty meal beforehand and mosey
through its many shops to find some unique and varied wares.
Directed by the inimitable
and enduring Ed Flesch with musical direction by Mary Ehlinger, this Irving
Berlin special is a keeper.
“The Little Shop of
Horrors” follows June 13 through July 14.
“Annie Get Your Gun”
runs through June 9 at the Fireside Dinner Theatre, 1131 Janesville Ave., Fort
Atkinson. For show times and tickets, call 800-477-9505 or visit