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ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at Ravinia: I have nothing against Lady Gaga (per se) and her fans, but when you compare her stuff to this musical that would be old enough to apply for social security (practically with full benefits) if it was a person, Gaga (et al), should be marketed as ‘musical product' the same way Velveeta is sold as ‘cheese food‘. We make this comparison because as great a songwriter as Irving Berlin was, he was also a business man and "Annie" was a constructed, mainstream entertainment all the way, as floor planned as the career of Lady Gaga. The difference is that "Annie" will probably still be celebrated in another 65 years while Gaga (and the rest), um, probably won't be. Not only is this one of Berlin's greatest scores, the show had six showstopper numbers. Patti LuPone as Annie? No brainer. Pat Cassidy as Frank Butler? Interesting choice. Tommy Krasker first called him to my attention and out of all the filles Cassidy, Pat is the apple that fell closest to the tree having the most resemblance to Jack in sound and style and being a more dimension slab of beefcake that recent Frankie come latelys that had the look but not the feel. Not just highlights but the whole theatrical performance with workshop staging, one of the cornerstones of musical theater was given a righteous and proper due from start to finish. Originally recorded on 12 78 rpm records, this was staged well before Goddard Lieberson created the era of modern musical theater but the CSO players took their cues from the Lieberson/Avakian playbook recreating the sound that was emanating from every nascent boomer household when said boomers were just learning to walk. If we ever needed a reminder to take us back to when this was a great country where things worked, this walk down memory lane blows off the dust and breathes some life into the ailing body. The show ran three nights under the stars and on the third night show we saw, no one was showing fatigue. First class troupers all, they did a first class job of going on with the show!

Volume 33/Number 287
August 16, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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