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March 21, 2006 > Annie Get Your Gun - A Must See

Annie Get Your Gun - A Must See

by Praveena Raman

Irving Berlin's box-office hit musical, Annie Get Your Gun, opened on March 16 at Mission San Jose High School's Little Theatre in Fremont. This 1999 Broadway revival is a fictionalized account of the rivalry and eventual romance between sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Courtney Stokes) and vaudeville marksman Frank Butler (Bryant Soong).

Acting is second nature to Courtney Stokes. Having seen the innate talent in this young star blossom and mature through the years on Tri-City community stage and more recently in the Bay Area professional arena, one almost expects her to always be at her professional best. And she does not disappoint. Beautifully capturing Annie's illiterate wildness, self-confidence in shooting and aggressive yearning for a man out of her reach, Stokes competently renders Berlin's musical gems reaching a peak in "Anything you can do I can do better." Soong, costarring with Stokes is a nice surprise. His rich melodious voice is more than pleasant to the ears and his suave acting skills belie the fact that this is the first time he has acted in a musical. This talented young actor would go a long way if he chooses to continue in theatre even as a hobby. Both Stokes and Soong seem very comfortable with each other, a tribute to their artistic talents and skills.

Though Stokes and Soong are the show stealers they are more than ably supported by a very talented cast. Andrew Slater has done a good job in casting and directing the show while Lee Glover has again worked her charm in developing young voices to bring forth the beauty of Irving Berlin's rich and glorious music. The technical aspects of the production were good with students showing their mettle in scenic design, lighting and sound. It was also very nice to see some choreography by talented Kristin Stokes, a Mission San Jose Alumna.

The cast was wonderfully supported by a very talented orchestra consisting of students and faculty member Claudia Fort, and led by conductor Monica Kraft. The rudimentary aspects of the theatre facility might have contributed to the few times that the orchestra seemed to overpower actors on stage. It would be really nice if such talent, hard-work and devotion to the performing arts could be recognized by the School District and showcased in modern facilities like those that other area high schools enjoy.

Annie Get Your Gun by Mission San Jose High School is a must see for the whole family. Come and support the young stars and imbibe local cultural entertainment at its best. The show continues on March 23, 24, and 25 at the Little Theatre at Mission San Jose High School 41717 Palm Ave., in Fremont. All performances start at 7:30 pm. Tickets are General admission: $10; Seniors, UP members: $8; Call (510) 657-3600 for additional information.

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