Last weekend Schoolhouse Arts Center opened the curtain on Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun. The musical featured the tale of Annie Oakley as she became known as the “best shot around” by beating Frank Butler, the featured act in Colonel Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and taking over as the star in the show, hoping to increase the show’s bottom line. A romance between Annie and Frank blossoms, but Frank has a hard time when Annie shows him up with a gun.
If you’re not familiar with the show, you still might recognize songs like “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do”. The show is a fun, musical experience in the cool comfort of the recently remodeled Schoolhouse theater.
Under the direction of Rob Juergens, the show showcases the talent of local residents, especially Dorothy Stickney as Annie Oakley and Ryan Lane as Frank Butler.
“Some people have this idea that the director is a type of dictator that bends the actors and crew to his will, ultimately reproducing his exact image upon the stage. Right…Everyone has his or her input,” said Juergens.
Stickney played the uneducated and unsocialized Annie with an unapologetic innocence that I only can imagine took some time to perfect. Her song “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” had the audience laughing at the fun play on words like “pistol packing mamas”. She made Annie Oakley come alive on the stage so much that my husband went home to look up the Oakley story when we arrived home.
Lane was terrific as Frank Butler. He conquered his large portion of the songs like a professional with a strong voice. His attitude when he was beat by Annie rang true for the time period. This was his first time performing at the Schoolhouse.
Other great performances were given by Clare McKelway at Dolly Take, who was in love with Frank Butler and did not like Annie. Chief Sitting Bull played by Michael Wozich provided color and humor. Annie’s siblings were great, often switching out to play other roles, were John Malcolm Lowell Ulmer, Corinne Sophia Ulmer, Phoebe Johnston and Meghan Elizabeth Reidy. Danny Gay also had numerous roles, which he portrayed well.
All in all I would not hesitate to recommend this show to anyone looking for a night out with great live entertainment. The show will run through August 2 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 5 p.m. Adult tickets are $18. Seniors and students are $16. Visit www.schoolhousearts.org for more detailed information or contact the Schoolhouse Arts Center at email@example.com. Schoolhouse Arts Center is located at 16 Richville Road (Route 114) in Standish.