Sep 29, 2009
Annie Get Your Gun
by Emily DeFosse
“Annie Get Your Gun” is a musical retelling of the historic romance between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, members of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
Assistant professor of theatre Chris Nelson directed the production.
“One of the fun aspects of this show was doing research into Buffalo Bill’s Wild West
and seeing how … back in the day they took a cast of 100-150 people, generators, their own electricity, their own cooks, ho
rses, bears and buffalo all the way to Europe and toured countries,” Nelson said.
“It was amazing. Buffalo Bill truly was the ambassador for America during that time. The world was enamored with the Wild West.”
“She (Annie) starts out very rugged, very earthy,” M
itchell said. “(Annie) hasn’t really been around civilization at all, and she just transforms throughout the show like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon.”
High-energy songs and choreography keep the show moving from the moment the curtain opens until the final bow.
“One of the biggest challenges in this production is the amount of choreography and big dance numbers,” Nelson said. “We really wanted to stretch our students in this show, and the choreographer, Mrs. Lori Provost, did a great job in stretching them.”
Ultimately, “Annie Get Your Gun” is a love story.
“(The story) is compacted because of time’s sake but it is very true they loved each other,” Mitchell said. “I was reading in research that she died when she was older, in her 60s, and three weeks later he died because he stopped eating because he loved her so much.”
While the story is romantic in nature it is also a lighthearted comedy full of familiar songs that will leave audiences tapping their toes. Classic show tunes such as “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,” “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” and “Anything You Can Do” make up the catchy score.
“I would guess that most people would at least recognize two or three songs in this score,” Nelson said. “No matter what their age I think they will enjoy it.”
A great deal of time and energy went into making this show come to life.
“I can’t even count the number of hours (spent) on our front scrim, which is a painted mural … It’s just a big show and I think what I’m most happy to see is that we are able to provide some kind of spectacle in this small theater and still hopefully really entertain the audience while they are here.”
The hand-painted scrim serves as the front curtain and depicts the main characters on horseback.
Along with the goal of entertaining the audience, Mitchell hopes they also take away the idea that to love is to sacrifice.
“That can even be true as Christians. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve what God wants you to achieve,” Mitchell said.
Contact Emily DeFosse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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