Annie Get Your Gun
Madison Theatre is aiming for a bullseye this weekend with its latest theatrical production, Annie Get Your Gun. The Irving Berlin musical debuts at 7 p.m. Friday with repeat performances at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and a final show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Opal E. Sherman Auditorium at Madison Consolidated High School. The original production - based on the story of wild west sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her love, Frank Butler - debuted on Broadway in 1946 starring Ethel Merman. Since then, Oakley’s shoes have been filled by performers such as Reba McEntire and Bernadette Peters. Peters won the 1999 Tony Award for best leading actress for the role and the show won the award for best revival that year. Even audiences unfamiliar with the show will likely recognize many of its songs, including “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “I Got The Sun In The Morning,” and “Anything You Can Do.” Director Aaron Kelsey said students will be performing a revised version of the show from a 1999 revival that “may be a little different than what people are used to.” In this rewrite by Peter Stone, the treatment of Native American characters has been adapted to modernize the tale. The love story between Annie and Frank has also been slightly changed from the show’s original book, Kelsey said, pointing to a final sharpshooting contest between the characters. “In the original, she threw the match to be able to keep Frank,” he said, “but in this one there’s a little bit of a different ending.” Plus, in this latest version, the story of Annie and Frank is told as a show within a show, told by the whole crew of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. For this production, senior Aleah Cutshall will star as Annie alongside junior Adam Norris as Frank. Cutshall said she thinks audiences will especially enjoy her scenes with Norris but that “the whole cast is going to be really pumped up for the show.” For the final show of her high school career, Cutshall said she’s proud of the shows she’s participated in - noting that some rival college productions she’s seen. “We do a fantastic job putting on the best show we can,” she said. Along with the friends and memories she’s made along the way, Cutshall might take little bit of Annie Oakley with her after graduation this spring. “She’s very tomboy-ish and as a kid I used to be very tomboy-ish. I’d wear flannels and cut-off pants,” Cutshall said, commenting on the way she related to the character. “So the ‘Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better’ mentality is definitely part of me. “She knows who she is and she sticks with it and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks - I think I’m going to try and take that with me.” This weekend’s production features a creative team led by Kelsey that includes assistant director Melanie Torline, musical director Teresa Grayson, pianist Chricket King, choreographer Susie Stillwell and crew chief Tiffany Lichlyter. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for the main floor and $5 for balcony. • Cast and ensemble: Jackson Bladen, Jordyn Bryant, Aubre Carter, Luka Chabukashvili, Aleah Cutshall, Regin Dean, Landyn Deckert, Caleb Denton, Mistral Dotti, Nyla Dugle, Natalia Faulkner, Andy Holcroft, Jacob Howell, Eli Jones, Vanina Kelsey, Eric Larkins, Claire Lostutter, Emma Lostutter, Emerson Nehring, LaRose Nicolas, Adam Norris, Hunter Pittman, Haleigh Pyles, Sydney Randall, Ben Ratcliff, Emily Skirvin, Brandon Stewart, Bryce Teater, Kealey White and Casey Williams. Crew: Lillian Adams, Mollie Baker, Savannah Cosby Justin Davis, Zach Eaglin, Destiny Gorrell, Ben Hardin, Keegan Hannaford, Shelby Hatton, Zoe Jones, Simon Knox, Lindsey Roeder and Emma Staicer. Orchestra: Erixana Brooks, Karen Buchanan, Tim Chandler, Rachel Gasser, Mark Johnson, Tom Kennedy, Vonda Liter, Kenton Mahoney and Brian Teater.