Annie Get Your Gun
These are officially the dog days of summer—those long, hot, withering days with little relief in sight. And if you have children, this is also the midsummer nightmare, filled with the antics of cranky, bored kids whose little hands haven’t left their Game Boys and whose little butts haven’t left the couch all vacation.
It’s time to yank those young ’uns off the cushions and get them out into the world. And the theater is the perfect place to yank them to because there’s something for just about every age group and interest. For the younger, lunch-box set, Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre and Runaway Stage Productions have shows aimed at tykes. For the teen crowd, there are the more mature musicals, such as Footloose at Woodland Opera House, West Side Story at Fallon House Theatre in Tuolumne County’s Columbia State Historic Park and Sweet Charity at Magic Circle Theater in Roseville.
But most of all, it’s the season of musicals for the masses, when you can bring the whole family. There’s the Music Circus summer lineup (with some shows more appropriate for older kids); Music Man at El Dorado Musical Theater; and Annie Get Your Gun, put on by Runaway Stage Productions at the 24th Street Theatre.
Annie Get Your Gun is a fun-filled, energetic production that tells the tale of that rootin’, tootin’ lady sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who wowed audiences with her eagle-eye aim. Annie gets recruited to show off her talent in Wild West shows—traveling shows that displayed a romanticized vision of cowboys and Indians to wide-eyed Easterners. There’s just one problem: Her love interest is threatened by her superiority.
As with most Runaway Stage productions, this outing is far from slick; think hokey. But it’s blessed with two great leads, Kelly Daniells as Annie Oakley and Martin Beal as Frank Butler, with the rest of the cast displaying, well, earnest enthusiasm. It’s a good summer outing for those couch-bound kids, although it does suffer from some politically incorrect, old-school American Indian bashing, along with Annie copping out in the end. But overall, Annie Get Your Gun is a song-and-dance fest, with such unforgettable Irving Berlin-penned showstoppers as “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).”