Opening this Friday 5th July and playing through to the following Saturday 13th July, Diamond Valley Singer’s (DVS) production of Annie Get Your Gun promises to be as sharp and real as Annie Oakley herself.
Set in the 1880’s American west, a production following the true story of crack-shot Oakley fits well with DVS’ previous productions. Starting in the 1980s with a series of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, DVS grew to include other female-driven shows and the occasional ‘western’ musical, including their 2005 production of Oklahoma, to which Annie Get Your Gun bears some deliberate resemblance.
Vice-President of the DVS, Malcom Wilton, notes “the story of Annie Oakley is a truly remarkable one. For a Victorian woman to become a sharpshooter, (let alone the best in the world!) was an extraordinary achievement. Annie’s great skill, combined with her charming nature made her one of the best-loved Wild West characters of all time.” Originally created by – and for – Ethel Merman in its 1946 Broadway debut, the part of Annie is full of spunk and bare-faced honesty, with the cast seeing the musical portrayal of an historical figure as being a big draw-card for audiences. Wilton continues: “that the real Annie Oakley was also a great philanthropist, a champion of women’s rights and a strong supporter of the Indigenous Americans makes her even more remarkable. At a time when women were viewed as chattels, and native Americans as a scourge, Annie Oakley broke all taboos, shot her way to financial independence and was adopted by the great Sioux Indian chief Sitting Bull. Was ever there a more deserving leading lady for a musical?” DVS uses the 1999 revival version of Annie Get Your Gun, where the book was rewritten to be more sensitive to Indigenous American characters and the Oklahoma-esque sub-plot involving Winnie Tate and Tommy’s romance is reintroduced. In line with this, cast member Steve Wilkie (Chief Sitting Bull) noted that his challenge for this production was “to portray an iconic respected person in [the] role of Chief Sitting Bull.”
With the original book by librettist and lyricist Dorothy Fields (Swingtime, Sweet Charity) and her brother Herbert, and music by the much-covered Irving Berlin (the original selection, Jerome Kern, died just days after starting work on the musical), Annie Get Your Gun contains a number of popular and well-known songs. Both Annie’s onstage sisters Charli Lewis (Winnie Tate) and Nic Ramsey (Dolly Tate) commented on the both the fun the cast and crew have had putting the show together, and the “energetic and fun” numbers which include the classic “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, “Anything You Can Do”, and “You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun”.
The crowning jewel on this engaging DVS production is the innovative approach the creative team have had to sets and props, headed by hands-on Director Merinda Gallagher. Charlie Lewis (Winnie Tate) enthuses: “the creative team have brought so much passion and expertise to the performances, and gone above and beyond to make sure costumes, sets, and the show itself is amazing!” A show about a sharp-shooter would be nothing without a gun fight, and Steve Wilkie (Chief Sitting Bull) cryptically hints that “the shooting match props and technical tricks make this a different kind of a DVS show.”
Don’t miss your shot with this larger than life production: after all, “They Say It’s Wonderful”!
Friday July 5 – 8pm
Saturday July 6 – 2pm & 8pm
Sunday July 7 – 2pm
Wednesday July 10 – 8pm
Friday July 12 – 8pm
Saturday July 13 – 2pm & 8pm
Venue: Warrandyte High School Theatre, Alexander Rd, Warrandyte
Prices: $30, Concession: $25 (Refer to booking site for other offers)
Booking Link: dvsingers.org