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Canberra Today 15°/18° | Monday, March 4, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

‘Lighthearted’ musical from Queanbeyan Players

“LIGHTHEARTED” is the way director Nina Stevenson likes to see the coming production of “Annie Get Your Gun” for Queanbeyan Players.

That’s why she’s particularly enthusiastic about doing the 1999 revival of Irving Berlin’s famous musical.

“It’s taken out the racist Indian jokes, although the Indian joke about themselves… and it opens with the cast of 34 doing the big showstopper, ‘There’s no business like show business’. You can’t have too much of a good thing, so that number is reprised in a scene we saw rehearsed at The Q this morning,” she says.

As far as Stevenson is concerned, “it’s a musical comedy,” and the Peter Stone book makes light of almost everything—“it’s unapologetic entertainment,” she adds.

She too is unapologetic about making this as popular a show as possible and has engaged five schoolgirls from nearby Karabar High to perform and, presumably, pull in the audiences.

The cast at rehearsal today
The cast at rehearsal today. 
Most people know the show, which focuses on the love story of sharp shooters Annie Oakley (Davenport) and Frank Butler. That’s the centre of the plot, but Stevenson is just as enthusiastic about the more spectacular elements of the show such as the ballroom scene in which an extra number was written in 1999.

As well, there’s the support team, with costumes by Christine Pawlicki “like jewels,” imaginative choreography by Kathryn Jones and  a set that slides in and out so that very few blackouts are required.  “it’s a play within a play, so it legitimises having scenes changes viewed by the audience,” Stevenson says.

For musical director John Yoon, its first foray into traditional musicals. He’s already excelled as musical director of “Grease” and “West Side Story” for Free Rain Theatre and he has played the piano in earlier musicals and worked on children’s musicals for Stevenson. Yoon says that  when he studied composition under Jim Cotter and Larry Sitsky at the ANU, he studied the old musicals, but doing it, well, “Annie Get Your Gun” is something different for him.

Queanbeyan Players present “Annie Get Your Gun”, director Nina Stevenson, musical director John Yoon, choreographer Kathryn Jones, at The Q, Nov 1-16, bookings to 6285 6290.

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Helen Musa

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