'Annie Get Your Gun' Hits A Bullseye
RTC’s production of the great American musical, “Annie Get Your Gun,” opened last weekend and strains of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” could be heard all around Fort Tilden. The book for this show was originally written in 1946 by Herbert and Dorothy Fields with music by the great Irving Berlin. This score contains some of the best known music in the world of musical theater, including “Can’t Get a Man With a Gun,” “Doing What Comes Nat’rally,” “Old Fashioned Wedding” and the aforementioned tribute to the world of entertainment. In 1999 the original version of the show was overhauled by Peter Stone. This revised version of the play is the one receiving standing ovations from adoring audiences during its first three performances at the Rockaway Theatre Company.
Director John Gilleece has once again assembled a phenomenal team of actors in this sterling cast. The role of the contemptuous Dolly is alternated between veteran RTC actresses Susan Corning and Jodee Timpone. Dolly’s little sister, Winnie, is alternated between two beautiful young women, Kim Simek and RTC newcomer, Samantha Levine. Talented dancer Luke Fontana plays the ½ Indian, Tommy, Winnie’s love interest. José Velez is 100% Sioux Indian in the role of the fierce, wise-cracking Indian Chief, Sitting Bull. Cutting a handsome figure with long silver tresses in the role of Buffalo Bill is another RTC veteran, Cliff Hesse. Speaking of handsome, tenor Walter Birkhold, is a particularly dashing 6’4” Frank Butler who melts hearts when he croons “The Girl That I Marry.” Although the cast consists of talented singers, dancers and actors too numerous to mention individually, there is no doubt that Breezy Point native Catherine Leib, in the title role of Annie Oakley, absolutely steals the show. Leib is every bit as good as her redheaded predecessors Bernadette Peters and Reba McIntire, who played the role in the 1999 Broadway production. She is tough and feisty and blows audiences away each time she belts out a tune. If you think you have enjoyed Leib’s work in leading roles at the Rockaway Theatre Company in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Her portrayal of Annie Oakley is the finest performance of Leib’s career thus far.
Behind every successful RTC show is an amazing production team. This one consists of Director John Gilleece, Musical Director Jeff Arzberger, Assistant Director Chaz Peacock, Choreographer Madiha Butt, Set Designer James Cantirino, Technical Director Tony Homsey, Stage Manager Nora Meyers and Costumier Naomi Seitz. Combining the talents of these incredible theatrical architects with the talents of a group of such consummate stage performers can only result in a theatrical event that everyone will want to see. Call the RTC Hotline at 718-374- 6400 or go to www.rockawaytheatrecompany.com for reservations now! The final curtain will go down on July 24.