Mount Hebron shines in `Annie Get Your Gun'


March 30, 2007|By Emily Woodhouse | Emily Woodhouse,special to the sun

Everyone knows "you can't get a man with a gun," but perhaps nobody knows it better than the talented cast of Mount Hebron High School's Annie Get Your Gun. The students performed Irving Berlin's spirited musical last week, showing the audience there really is "No Business Like Show Business."

Annie Get Your Gun tells the story of two rival sharpshooters -- Annie Oakley and Frank Butler -- who fall in love, even as they compete to earn the title of "champ-een" in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

As backwoods tomboy Annie, Amanda Ross carried the show with her outstanding vocals and characterization. With her powerful voice, Ross dominated the stage in solos such as "I Got The Sun in the Morning." She had her match in chemistry and star power with Dan Kennett as Frank Butler, who played his role with irresistible charm and the swagger of a womanizing cowboy. The pair blended perfectly in the famous duet "Anything You Can Do," but Kennett continued to dazzle throughout, particularly in "My Defenses Are Down," sung with the male chorus.

A lively cast of supporting characters added spunk to the show, including John Duff's wild portrayal of "half-Indian" Tommy Keeler. Duff also choreographed several numbers with his partner, Kassi Mattera (who played Winnie Tate), and they shined in their number, "Who Do You Love, I Hope," which incorporated the entire ensemble.

As the overbearing Dolly Tate, Meghan Forry gave a comical performance, which was complemented by Michael Strunck as Chief Sitting Bull, who quietly stole his scenes with absurd facial expressions and stoic delivery.

Annie's chorus got its fair share of the limelight, in the student-choreographed numbers and in the "European Tour" sequence, which featured an appearance by Keegan Dauber as the president of France -- one shot from Annie's pistol and he lost his pants.

Although the spotlight came in late several times, the lighting design was impressive, particularly in the finale, when the setting sun appeared with vibrant red and yellow backlighting. The orchestra supported the actors with Berlin's upbeat score, creating an authentic Western atmosphere.

Mount Hebron's impressive cast and crew never ceased to be entertaining, from the splashy opening until the very last shot was fired at the finale. Mount Hebron proved that it's "got the sun in the morning and the moon at night" -- and plenty of applause in between.

Emily Woodhouse, a student at River Hill High School, reviewed "Annie Get Your Gun" for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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