Annie Get Your Gun

There's No Business Like Show Business

Photo by Valerie Ross Burfield

There’s no business like show business!

This weekend marked the opening of Annie Get Your Gun, produced through the Wilmette Center for the Arts (Starlight Theatre). With outdoor theatre, you never know how the elements will treat you, but we only had one instance of rain late into Saturday’s performance. I have never seen so many actors and crew scurrying to strike a set and save costumes from water damage– with great success, too.

Participating in this production has been a wonderful, collaborative process. This show marks my first full musical in nearly a year and a half (a hiatus peppered with other dramatic pursuits, but none comparing with the joy of musical comedy). So glad the dry spell is over!

Every individual in this ensemble cast truly contributes to the magic of this Golden Age show, and under the guidance of an attentive creative team, the music of Irving Berlin beautifully comes to life. The 1999 revival edition also allows for more spark between the characters of Winnie Tate and Tommy Keeler, which I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring with my charming counterpart, Jacob Huddilston. And the sisterly love between Winnie and Dolly Tate, played by the perfect Shay Cambre, has been amazing.

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Photo by Valerie Ross Burfield

I’m grateful for the artistic direction of Alison Dornheggan, who has made the show possible, and the direction of Ashton Byrum, whose knack for detail and extensive performance background allows for this cast to shine to their fullest. Choreographer Kirsten Markham has lent a lovely collection of movement, and music director Joseph Brewer has been fearless in wrangling voices and musicians.

As my first Chicago musical, this show has allowed me to make wonderful new friends and further drive my creative passions. I look forward to continuing my forays into Chicago musical theatre in upcoming months!

For any locals wishing to catch a performance, here are some details:

  • Shows run at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park July 10 – 26.
  • Admission is free; curtain is at 8:00 pm Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
  • Bring blankets, chairs, and picnics. (The beach is yards away!)

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2 comments

  1. Break a leg! We attempted to do an outdoor production of Willy Wonka Junior but it unfortunately rained that weekend! It was disappointing as we were planning to perform it here in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia!

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