MCS to stage 'Annie Get your Gun'

Staff report
Cassandra Olin, band director at Margaretville Central School, says she was at school last summer, completing work for her master’s degree. Some of the other degree candidates started talking about why schools don’t produce old Broadway musical shows. Olin says the kids aren’t familiar with the names, but everyone knows the songs. Olin, who took over the MCS Scitamard Society, that’s “dramatics” spelled backwards, decided to give one of the old shows a try.

She dropped a few hints, but then in the winter she made the big announcement. The spring musical would have familiar songs like “Anything You Can Do,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” The play was going to be “Annie Get Your Gun.” It is a show written by long-time local second homeowner, the late legendary Irving Berlin.

The very next day the tragic shooting took place in Newtown, CT. But it was decided that the show would go on.

Tough choices
There have been a few chuckles about the show, especially after New York passed “The SAFE Act” but the only problem has been in selecting a cast.

Olin says the difficulty is that the kids are so talented. She says any one of three girls, Elia Tanzer, Rhiannon Kearns or Alana Moskowitz could have performed the lead role of Annie. Olin says they could have pulled one of their names from a hat and it would have been fine. Alana Moskowitz got the role.

And Olin says it was much the same for the male lead. Ben Fairbairn will play Frank Butler, Annie’s husband. Olin says the wealth of talent translates into strength throughout the cast. And it is a young cast. The four people who were mentioned are all sophomores. But Olin says they are more enthusiastic and easier to work with than some casts have been. She says they are also all very close friends. The cast eats together, hangs out together. They do everything together.

While Olin is crediting the kids, many in the community are crediting her for being able to get the most out of them and helping turn the music program around. When she arrived from her native Batavia nearly four years ago, the band was down to 16 members. The band has now grown to the point where all but four fourth graders are in the elementary band, and the high school band is bigger and better.

The music program has improved so much that the cash-strapped district had to find a way to purchase new instruments.

Former school board member Al Tanzer says,” Cassi Olin is the best thing to happen to the band program since I became associated with the school in 1972.”

She not only gets the best out of young people but her 93-year-old grandmother, who she calls “old and awesome,” can be seen sewing costumes for the show.
Performances of “Annie Get Your Gun” will be Friday May 3 and Saturday May 4 in the MCS Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students.