Unforgettable music by Irving Berlin highlights this story of Annie Oakley, aka "Little Miss Sure Shot," in Dorothy Fields' and Herbert Fields' 1947 Broadway hit "Annie Get Your Gun."
This blend of American folklore, romance, show business and the American West follows famed sharpshooter Oakley and her exploits with Buffalo Bill and his celebrated Wild West show.
Berlin's classics “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Doin’ What Comes Naturally,” “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun,” “They Say It’s Wonderful”, “My Defenses Are Down” and “Anything You Can Do” became hits during the musical's long runs on Broadway — 1,147 performances — and in London.
Camelot stages "Annie Get Your Gun," with preview performances set for Wednesday and Thursday, March 7 and 8, at the community theater, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Tickets are pay-what-you-want for the March 7 preview; $20 for the March 8 preview. The show opens Friday, March 9, and runs through April 1. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $29 or $36. Tickets and information available at camelottheatre.org or 541-535-5250.
A benefit performance for Rogue Valley Peace Choir is at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. Tickets are $25 and available at Book Exchange in Ashland or by calling 541-840-7881. The Peace Choir, directed by Rob Griswell and accompanied by pianist Mikio Petrucelli, is a non-audition, secular choir that offers free concerts in schools, senior facilities and in the community.
Roy Von Rains Jr. directs the Camelot's production of "Annie," and the cast features Justin Tyler Martin, Eoghan McDowell and Sabrina Valenzuela as Buffalo Bill, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley, respectively.
"'Annie Get Your Gun' is American Broadway at it’s very best,” Rains Jr. says, who also is artistic director at Camelot. "In a way it is an anthem for every performer lucky enough to walk the boards. There really is no business like show business.
"This rousing musical tells the story — taking a few historical liberties — of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler and how they met and fell in love with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show as the backdrop. It's filled with such memorable songs as 'There’s No Business Like Show Business,' which may be my all-time favorite Broadway song. Show business has been a huge part of my life since I was 11."
Rains Jr. goes on to say that this time around there’s a sense of bittersweet to this endeavor as "Annie Get Your Gun" will be his last show as artistic director for Camelot Theatre.
"I will be moving on to the next great adventure, and I will take with me the memory of the 'one brief shining moment' spent here at Camelot with the most passionate and talented group of artists and friends that I have ever worked with."
To bring "Annie Get Your Gun" to life on the Camelot Theatre stage requires a large production team. Musical direction is by Beatriz Abella, and choreography is by Melanie Marie. Costume design is by Anthony Ascencio and Estrella Page-Lopez, set design by Janny Hernandez, lighting design by Michael Demaree, props by Olivia Harrison, sound and video design and live sound engineering are by Brian O’Connor.
A comparatively large group of regional actors were cast for the show. Justin Briggs plays Chief Sitting Bull, Janina Brown plays Mac, Ava Code plays Jessie, Jake Hastings plays Pawnee Bill, Nico Hewitt is Charlie Davenport, Lanny Horn is Foster Wilson, Rigo Jimenez is Keeler, J.J. Jimenez is Little Jake, Magill Echo-Lowe is Nellie, Melanie Marie is Dolly Tate, Keely McLean is Winnie Tate, Kaia O’Neil is Mrs. Schuyler Adams. Others fill multiple roles in the production's ensemble.