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Actors add a touch of western flair for latest stage production

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2001

There's no business like show business, and Twin Cities Produc-tions proves the phrase is true with the latest musical comedy, "Annie Get Your Gun."

Director Gordon Griffin said the old-fashioned love story set during the turn of the century is one of his favorite performances because of the story line.

"Annie Get Your Gun," written by Irving Berlin, is the story of Annie Oakley, one of the world's most famous sharpshooters, and Frank Butler, a dashing marksman, as they tour the country as the stars of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

"They meet and fall in love, and then they go through their battles of who is the best sharpshooter," he said.

Griffin said the play depicts the romantic process that leads to the inevitable outcome.

 

Dolly Tate, played by Danielle Meacham, from left, questions Annie Oakley's reasoning for shooting the bird she is holding.

Photo by Sara J. Smith

"It is indeed wonderful to fall in love," he said.

The musical is divided into two acts, each with four scenes. Within the 2 1/2 hour timeframe of the play, there are six set changes and more than 18 songs.

The play begins in Cincinnati and moves throughout the world. Griffin said designing the sets, including houses, a boat, train, ballroom and island, was challenging, but fun.

For many of the cast members, "Annie Get Your Gun," is their first on-stage performance.

"They did a tremendous job," Griffin said, adding he has no doubt many will go on to be in more performances. "They've got the bug."

 

Annie Oakley, played by Cathie Longfellow, from left, shows her disappointment as Buffalo Bill, played by Larry Willard, middle, introduces her competition, Frank Butler, played by Todd Jackson, in the shooting match.

Photo by Sara J. Smith

Cathie Longfellow, cast in the role of Annie, said the part is her first leading role. For Longfellow, the role is an opportunity to act goofy and have fun.

"The part is just a hoot to play. She is like a big hick," she said.

Longfellow said she held small roles in "Hello Dolly" and "Fid-dler on the Roof," but being Annie is a whole different challenge.

"I was nothing big before this," she said.

The role also allows her to belt out more than 13 songs. Longfel-low said music is a large part of her life, and her dream is to one day be a professional Christian singer.

 

Frank Butler, played by Todd Jackson, sings to an awe struck Annie Oakley, played by Cathie Longfellow, about the kind of girl he wants to marry.

Photo by Sara J. Smith

However, today Longfellow is content singing in church and caring for her family. She said the musical has sparked her interest, and she plans to be in more plays if she can.

Griffin believes his choices for the lead roles were good ones. He said both Longfellow and Todd Jackson, who plays Frank Butler, are vocally sound and have great timing.

"They are probably the best two leads that have been in a production in a long, long time around here," he said.

"They can play those comedic lines really well," Griffin said.

While the role of Annie was fun for Longfellow, the role of Chief Sitting Bull took a bit more effort for Katy Dempsey.

Dempsey said she researched

Sitting Bull to get a feel for who the man was.

Dempsey has experience in acting and toured with a children's performing troupe in her 20s. She said "Annie" is her first show in 15 years and since has tried her hand at directing.

"I am impressed with the talent of the leads," she said. "The talent is remarkable for an area this small."

Griffin said the reason the production is one of his favorites is because it's so challenging -- particularly one scene.

The musical includes a motorcycle act by Annie. To make the scene effective, Griffin said it is engaging for the technical crew, the director and the actors.

"They all have to work together, probably like no other show," he said.

While many high school and college levels cut the motorcycle scene, Griffin decided to make it happen.

"I said to myself, 'This time I am going to create it,'" he said.

For Griffin, after 20 years of directing and producing theater in the community, "Annie" is his final show, and he's happy with the outcome.

Unlike most productions, the performances of "Annie" are divided by a week, to avoid running on Easter weekend. Griffin said the break will be positive for the cast and crew.

"By the time the second weekend comes around, they are going to be well rested vocally, mentally and physically," he said.

"It will be almost like a second opening."

Performances are at Soldotna High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 19, 20 and 21. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee April 22. Tickets can be purchased in Kenai at Charlotte's, the Merit Inn, Malston's and Halcyon Spalon, and in Soldotna at River City Books, Sweeney's and The Music Box.

While "Annie Get Your Gun" will be memorable for Griffin, he said he believes the cast will treasure the experience as well.

"These people will always remember each other. They will have something to share for the rest of their lives," he said. "That's what it is all about."

BYLINE1:By SARA J. SMITH

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

There's no business like show business, and Twin Cities Produc-tions proves the phrase is true with the latest musical comedy, "Annie Get Your Gun."

Director Gordon Griffin said the old-fashioned love story set during the turn of the century is one of his favorite performances because of the story line.

"Annie Get Your Gun," written by Irving Berlin, is the story of Annie Oakley, one of the world's most famous sharpshooters, and Frank Butler, a dashing marksman, as they tour the country as the stars of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

"They meet and fall in love, and then they go through their battles of who is the best sharpshooter," he said.

Griffin said the play depicts the romantic process that leads to the inevitable outcome.

"It is indeed wonderful to fall in love," he said.

The musical is divided into two acts, each with four scenes. Within the 2 1/2 hour timeframe of the play, there are six set changes and more than 18 songs.

The play begins in Cincinnati and moves throughout the world. Griffin said designing the sets, including houses, a boat, train, ballroom and island, was challenging, but fun.

For many of the cast members, "Annie Get Your Gun," is their first on-stage performance.

"They did a tremendous job," Griffin said, adding he has no doubt many will go on to be in more performances. "They've got the bug."

Cathie Longfellow, cast in the role of Annie, said the part is her first leading role. For Longfellow, the role is an opportunity to act goofy and have fun.

"The part is just a hoot to play. She is like a big hick," she said.

Longfellow said she held small roles in "Hello Dolly" and "Fid-dler on the Roof," but being Annie is a whole different challenge.

"I was nothing big before this," she said.

The role also allows her to belt out more than 13 songs. Longfel-low said music is a large part of her life, and her dream is to one day be a professional Christian singer.

However, today Longfellow is content singing in church and caring for her family. She said the musical has sparked her interest, and she plans to be in more plays if she can.

Griffin believes his choices for the lead roles were good ones. He said both Longfellow and Todd Jackson, who plays Frank Butler, are vocally sound and have great timing.

"They are probably the best two leads that have been in a production in a long, long time around here," he said.

"They can play those comedic lines really well," Griffin said.

While the role of Annie was fun for Longfellow, the role of Chief Sitting Bull took a bit more effort for Katy Dempsey.

Dempsey said she researched

Sitting Bull to get a feel for who the man was.

Dempsey has experience in acting and toured with a children's performing troupe in her 20s. She said "Annie" is her first show in 15 years and since has tried her hand at directing.

"I am impressed with the talent of the leads," she said. "The talent is remarkable for an area this small."

Griffin said the reason the production is one of his favorites is because it's so challenging -- particularly one scene.

The musical includes a motorcycle act by Annie. To make the scene effective, Griffin said it is engaging for the technical crew, the director and the actors.

"They all have to work together, probably like no other show," he said.

While many high school and college levels cut the motorcycle scene, Griffin decided to make it happen.

"I said to myself, 'This time I am going to create it,'" he said.

For Griffin, after 20 years of directing and producing theater in the community, "Annie" is his final show, and he's happy with the outcome.

Unlike most productions, the performances of "Annie" are divided by a week, to avoid running on Easter weekend. Griffin said the break will be positive for the cast and crew.

"By the time the second weekend comes around, they are going to be well rested vocally, mentally and physically," he said.

"It will be almost like a second opening."

Performances are at Soldotna High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 19, 20 and 21. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee April 22. Tickets can be purchased in Kenai at Charlotte's, the Merit Inn, Malston's and Halcyon Spalon, and in Soldotna at River City Books, Sweeney's and The Music Box.

While "Annie Get Your Gun" will be memorable for Griffin, he said he believes the cast will treasure the experience as well.

"These people will always remember each other. They will have something to share for the rest of their lives," he said. "That's what it is all about."

CAPTION:Dolly Tate, played by Danielle Meacham, questions Annie Oakley's reasoning for shooting the bird she is holding. Cathie Longfellow plays the title role of Annie.

CREDIT:Photos by Sara J. Smith

CAPTION:Frank Butler, played by Todd Jackson, sings to a group of girls about what a bad, bad man he is during a rehearsal for "Annie Get Your Gun." The musical will wrap up its run next week with performances April 19, 20, 21 and 22 at Soldotna High School Auditorium.

HEAD:Sharp-shootin' musical comedy comes to town

HEAD:Actors add a touch of western flair for latest stage production

CAPTION:Annie Oakley, left, shows her disappointment as Buffalo Bill, on the stand played by Larry Willard, introduces her competition, Frank Butler, in the shooting match.

BYLINE1:By SARA J. SMITH

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

There's no business like show business, and Twin Cities Produc-tions proves the phrase is true with the latest musical comedy, "Annie Get Your Gun."

Director Gordon Griffin said the old-fashioned love story set during the turn of the century is one of his favorite performances because of the story line.

"Annie Get Your Gun," written by Irving Berlin, is the story of Annie Oakley, one of the world's most famous sharpshooters, and Frank Butler, a dashing marksman, as they tour the country as the stars of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

"They meet and fall in love, and then they go through their battles of who is the best sharpshooter," he said.

Griffin said the play depicts the romantic process that leads to the inevitable outcome.

"It is indeed wonderful to fall in love," he said.

The musical is divided into two acts, each with four scenes. Within the 2 1/2 hour timeframe of the play, there are six set changes and more than 18 songs.

The play begins in Cincinnati and moves throughout the world. Griffin said designing the sets, including houses, a boat, train, ballroom and island, was challenging, but fun.

For many of the cast members, "Annie Get Your Gun," is their first on-stage performance.

"They did a tremendous job," Griffin said, adding he has no doubt many will go on to be in more performances. "They've got the bug."

Cathie Longfellow, cast in the role of Annie, said the part is her first leading role. For Longfellow, the role is an opportunity to act goofy and have fun.

"The part is just a hoot to play. She is like a big hick," she said.

Longfellow said she held small roles in "Hello Dolly" and "Fid-dler on the Roof," but being Annie is a whole different challenge.

"I was nothing big before this," she said.

The role also allows her to belt out more than 13 songs. Longfel-low said music is a large part of her life, and her dream is to one day be a professional Christian singer.

However, today Longfellow is content singing in church and caring for her family. She said the musical has sparked her interest, and she plans to be in more plays if she can.

Griffin believes his choices for the lead roles were good ones. He said both Longfellow and Todd Jackson, who plays Frank Butler, are vocally sound and have great timing.

"They are probably the best two leads that have been in a production in a long, long time around here," he said.

"They can play those comedic lines really well," Griffin said.

While the role of Annie was fun for Longfellow, the role of Chief Sitting Bull took a bit more effort for Katy Dempsey.

Dempsey said she researched

Sitting Bull to get a feel for who the man was.

Dempsey has experience in acting and toured with a children's performing troupe in her 20s. She said "Annie" is her first show in 15 years and since has tried her hand at directing.

"I am impressed with the talent of the leads," she said. "The talent is remarkable for an area this small."

Griffin said the reason the production is one of his favorites is because it's so challenging -- particularly one scene.

The musical includes a motorcycle act by Annie. To make the scene effective, Griffin said it is engaging for the technical crew, the director and the actors.

"They all have to work together, probably like no other show," he said.

While many high school and college levels cut the motorcycle scene, Griffin decided to make it happen.

"I said to myself, 'This time I am going to create it,'" he said.

For Griffin, after 20 years of directing and producing theater in the community, "Annie" is his final show, and he's happy with the outcome.

Unlike most productions, the performances of "Annie" are divided by a week, to avoid running on Easter weekend. Griffin said the break will be positive for the cast and crew.

"By the time the second weekend comes around, they are going to be well rested vocally, mentally and physically," he said.

"It will be almost like a second opening."

Performances are at Soldotna High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 19, 20 and 21. There will be a 3 p.m. matinee April 22. Tickets can be purchased in Kenai at Charlotte's, the Merit Inn, Malston's and Halcyon Spalon, and in Soldotna at River City Books, Sweeney's and The Music Box.

While "Annie Get Your Gun" will be memorable for Griffin, he said he believes the cast will treasure the experience as well.

"These people will always remember each other. They will have something to share for the rest of their lives," he said. "That's what it is all about."



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