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Lourdes Musical: Annie Get Your Gun

Miss Gould Prepares Students for Another Outstanding Production

Joe Allen By Joe Allen

This year’s musical is Annie Get Your Gun directed by Miss Lesley Gould. The lyrics and music were   written by Irving Berlin and was based on a book by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy Fields. The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley (1860–1926), who was a sharpshooter from Ohio, and her husband, Frank Butler. When the traveling Wild West show owned and directed by Colonel Buffalo Bill visits Cincinnati, Ohio, Frank Butler (the handsome, womanizing star -- I'm a Bad, Bad, Man), challenges anyone in town to a shooting match. Foster Wilson, a local hotel owner, doesn't appreciate the Wild West Show taking over his hotel, so Frank arranges a side bet of one hundred dollars on the match with him. Annie Oakley enters and shoots a bird off Dolly Tate's hat, and then explains her simple backwoods ways to Wilson with the help of her siblings (Doin' What Comes Natur'lly). When Wilson learns she's a brilliant shot, he enters her in the shooting match against Frank Butler.
     While Annie waits for the match to start, she meets Frank Butler and falls instantly in love with him, not knowing he will be her opponent. She asks Frank if he likes her, Frank explains that the girl he wants will "wear satin... and smell of cologne" (The Girl That I Marry). The rough and naive Annie comically laments that You Can't Get a Man with a Gun. At the shooting match, Annie finds out that Frank is a "big swollen-headed stiff.” She wins the contest, and Buffalo Bill with Charlie Davenport, the show's manager, invite Annie to join the Wild West Show. Annie agrees because she loves Frank even though she has no idea what "show business" is. Frank, Charlie, Buffalo Bill, and everyone explains that There's No Business like Show Business."
     During the course of working together, Frank becomes enamored with the plain-spoken, honest, tomboyish Annie. As they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota on a train, he explains to her what "love" is (They Say It's Wonderful). Buffalo Bill and Charlie discover that the rival show, Pawnee Bill's Far East Show, will be playing in Saint Paul, Minnesota while the Wild West Show plays in nearby Minneapolis. They ask Annie to do a special shooting trick on a motorcycle to draw Pawnee Bill's business away. Annie agrees because the trick will surprise Frank. 

     As Annie prepares for the show, Frank plans to propose to Annie after the show and then ruefully admits that My Defense Are Down. Annie performs her trick and becomes an instant star, Chief Sitting Bull is so impressed that he adopts her into the Sioux tribe (I'm An Indian Too). Hurt and angry, Frank walks out on Annie and the show, joining the competing Pawnee Bill's show.
     The Buffalo Bill show tours Europe with Annie as the star, but the show goes broke, as does Pawnee Bill's show with Frank. Annie, now well-dressed and more refined and worldly, still longs for Frank (I Got Lost in His Arms). Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill plot a merger of the two companies, each assuming the other has the money necessary for the merger. They all meet at a grand reception, where they soon discover both shows are broke. Annie, however, has received sharpshooting medals from all the rulers of Europe worth one hundred thousand dollars. She decides to sell the medals to finance the merger, rejoicing in the simple things (I Got the Sun in the Mornin').
     When Frank appears, he and Annie confess their love and decide to marry, although with comically different ideas. Frank wants "some little chapel," while Annie wants "A wedding in a big church with bridesmaids and flower girls/ A lot of ushers in tail coats/ Reporters and photographers" (An Old-Fashioned Wedding). When Annie shows Frank her medals, Frank again has his pride hurt, and they call off the merger and the wedding. They agree to one last shooting duel (Anything You Can Do). Annie deliberately loses to Frank to soothe his ego, and Frank deliberately misses five shots to make it a tie. They finally reconcile, marry and merge the shows.
     The 1946 Broadway production was a hit, and the musical had long runs in both New York (1,147 performances) and London inspiring a 1950 film version and television versions. Songs that became hits include There's No Business like Show Business, Doin' What Comes Natur'lly, You Can't Get a Man with a Gun, They Say It's Wonderful, and Anything You Can Do. The musical's showstopper song, There's No Business Like Show Business, was almost left out of the show because Berlin, mistakenly, got the impression that one of the producers, Richard Rodgers, did not like it.
     Tryouts were held Jan 17-18. The cast includes Madeline Dubois as Annie Oakley, Jake Vasa as Frank Butler, Michael Katalenich as Buffalo Bill Cody, Clancy Young as Tommy Keeler, and Jameson DeFreece as Charlie Davenport. The musical cast will start practice the third week in February and the final performances will be April 27, 28, and 29.