This New York Times review of the fully-orchestrated version of Annie Get Your Gun at the Glimmerglass Festival really illustrates the startling power you can only get from a truly live musical:
“Speaking of doing things naturally, this production uses no amplification, employs a full orchestra of 42 players and adheres to the original keys of the 1946 production….
Hearing ‘Annie’ with natural sound and a proper orchestra was a revelation. What a relief from the cranked-up amplified world of a typical Broadway musical. Take the first song, ‘Colonel Buffalo Bill,’ when Drew Taylor as Charlie Davenport, who manages the colonel’s touring show, drums up enthusiasm among the townsfolk of Cincinnati. A rare thing happened for an audience at a musical. I could sense everyone leaning in a little, attentive and involved, not wanting to miss a single word of Berlin’s charming lyrics.
In amplified productions the words and music are blasted at you. In Glimmerglass’s wonderful 900-seat theater the words came through beautifully, wafting over the orchestra. You just had to focus a little, as audiences routinely did in the golden days before Broadway became amplified…… [e]very Broadway producer should come here to experience what unamplified, historically informed musical theater can be.”