Barrington High School Stagemasters presents “Annie Get Your Gun” this weekend and according to a few cast members, audiences should expect singing, dancing, romance, quite a few laughs and a whole lot of family fun.
“Annie Get Your Gun” is centered on the life of famed female sharpshooter Annie Oakley who wowed audiences with shooting exhibitions as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800s. The musical also tells the story of Annie’s romance with fellow sharpshooter Frank Butler.
Faculty advisor/director Stephanie Spaziano said she and the school music department selected the musical together following an initial round of auditions last spring. Ms. Spaziano said the musical fits the cast well with a number of male and female leads. It also marks a change in direction from previous Stagemasters’ productions such as “Annie” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”
“It was something new for us, something fun,” Ms. Spaziano said.
The music department’s involvement in the selection process is important because local high school students will make-up the pit group.
“I want to use student musicians because I think it really gives something to the production. It’s a community effort,” she said.
Rehearsals for “Annie Get Your Gun” began at the start of this school year after a round of secondary auditions. Unlike many high schools that have three or four months to prepare for a performance, Stagemasters puts together a musical in about two months.
Senior Ana Proulx has taken part in every Stagemasters production since she was a freshman. Ana also characterized the cast as a talented, fun-loving bunch though she said everyone knows when it’s time to get to work.
“I think we’re very goofy but at the same time we’re good workers. We get what we need to get done, done,” Ana said. “We have a really talented group of kids. We are very lucky.”
One of the talented cast members referenced by Ana is Karl Aspelund who plays the male lead, Frank Butler. Like Ana, Karl is a veteran Stagemasters member taking on the largest role of his high school acting career.
Karl said the part has required a larger effort than past years; he said he has subsequently learned more about singing and performing. Karl said the entire cast has been working hard towards this weekend’s opening.
Michael Caizzi is another four-year Stagemasters performer. This time out he’s playing Buffalo Bill. Michael said he modeled the character’s southern draw off his great-grandfather, an Alabama native. Michael also said one of the unique aspects to Stagemasters is the relationship shared by its participants.
“Everyone here is friends,” Michael said.
“There’s no rivalries or anything.”
Ana agreed. She said that despite all of the time she has spent on stage, it’s the cast members that will be remembered for years to come.
“The bonds that I’ve made with people in the show are incredible and I know they’re going to last a long time.”
Elena Heitke knows the experience of hitting the stage. She took part in Stagemasters productions as a freshman, sophomore and junior before deciding on a spot off-stage this year. The senior is the production’s assistant director, something she described as an enjoyable experience.
“I wanted to help with the creativity,” Elena said.
“I think directing was good for me because it challenge me and it was something new.”
“Annie Get Your Gun” opens Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The show continues Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. Adult tickets are $8 Friday and Saturday, $7 on Sunday. Student tickets for all shows are $5. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the high school at 247-3150.