Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s newest production opened last week with a song that sets your toes tapping and puts a smile on your face that’s likely to stay through to the last echo of applause.
Annie Get Your Gun is a fictionalized account of the true romance between American sharpshooters Frank Butler and Annie Oakley who traveled the country and then the world during the 1880s. With a minimalist set, effective lighting, and a cast well-suited to light summer fare, this is a fun way to spend an evening.
The first stage version of Annie Get Your Gun opened on Broadway in 1946, and some of the dialog and interactions reflect attitudes of that time. This TWN production uses the book revised by Peter Stone, which attempts to soften some of the prejudices of the original that don’t play well today.
While a couple of cringe-worthy lines remain, the acting and singing will move you past to enjoy this fun comic musical. After all, with this play it’s all about the score, and this is one of the most acclaimed scores written for stage. The play features some of Irving Berlin’s most memorable tunes: “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun,” “I Get the Sun in the Morning,” and “Anything You Can Do” just to name a few.
Sara Sheperd, on leave from Broadway, is making her Theatre Workshop debut in the role of Annie, and she plays the title role with a charming downhome determination and a melodic voice that matches the strength of the character. The joy in her voice reinforces the optimism of Annie. James Benjamin Rodgers’ strong, lush tenor and vivid acting makes him a boisterous Frank Butler and believable love interest.
Jack Bulger is no stranger to the stage on Nantucket, and his resonant voice and stage presence gives him credence as Buffalo Bill Cody. We also enjoyed Xalvador Tin-Bradbury’s engaging and expressive portrayal of Tommy Keeler opposite Addie Doyle’s endearing Winnie Tate.
Annie Get Your Gun is being performed in repertory with Theatre Workshop’s production of The Full Monty which opens July 22 in Bennett Hall. For tickets, visit theatreworkshop.com or call the box office at 508-228-4305.
Annie Get Your Gun is being performed at 6pm on July 21, 27, Aug. 2, 4, 10, 17, 20, 23, & 25, with 2pm matinees on August 7 and 14.