One of the great things about a Village Theatre production is that once you enter the auditorium, you are instantly transported to another world. In the case of Annie Get Your Gun, instead of a regular curtain, you are greeted with giant posters for Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and instead of a standard “turn your cell phones off please message,” it is given by a barker. Then, when the musical begins, you’ll swear you just walked into an old 1940’s MGM film.
Annie Get Your Gun is Village Theatre’s latest production of one of Broadway’s oldest musicals which features the timeless songs, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun,” “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).” It’s a colorful specticle of a show with over-the-top characters who break the fourth wall by turning to the audience when they speak their punchlines. Its vaudville and broadway rolled into one.
The story is a simple one and loosely based on the real life of Annie Oakley, a backwoods sharpshooter who enters shooting competition against Buffalo Bill’s headline act, Frank Butler. Not only does did she win the competition, buy she also won his heart.
Vicki Noon headlines the show as Annie Oakley. Before this, she had just finished a national tour of Wicked playing Elphaba. At the press night, I sat next to a family friend of Noon who told me that she has had the pleasure of playing with the Oz theme three times – first as Dorothy, then as Aunt Em and then the wicked witch of the west. Playing Annie must be a nice change. Noon has an incredible voice and pairs very nicely with Dane Stokinger’s Frank Butler.
A secondary storyline features show performers Winnie Tate (Taylor Niemeyer), Tommy Keeler (Gabriel Corey) the half Indian, half Irish love interest and Dolly Tate (Kathryn Van Meter), Winnie’s sister, who tries to keep the two apart when she isn’t trying to win the heart of Mr. Butler. Also in the cast is Hugh Hastings as Buffalo Bill, Johnny Patchamalta as Sitting Bull, Casey Raiha as Charlie Davenport and a trio of new actors, Sofia Caputo, Analiese Emerson Guettinger and Josh Feinsilber as Annie’s younger siblings.
Other than a couple minor technical difficulties, the show went at a nice clip, albeit a long clip. It was great to share this family-friendly production with my son who enjoyed it as well. When I mentioned to him about it being a squeaky-clean show, he commented that he noticed that they had sworn a lot in the show. And, that they did, though only “damns” and “hells." They didn’t over power the show. All in all, it's a great piece of American history and a great show to see if you've never seen it.
Annie Get Your Gun runs from November 9to December 31 at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah and then from January 6-29 at the Everett Performing Arts Center. Performances will be held at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7:00 p.m. on Sundays, 7:30 p.m. on select Tuesdays and a 2:00 p.m. matinee will be shown on Saturdays and Sundays. The Issaquah theatre is located at 303 Front Street North, Issaquah, 98027. Tickets for the Issaquah production can be purchased online or at the box office by calling 425.392.2202. (The Everett location tickets will not be available until November 30.)