‘Annie Get Your Gun’ a bullseye

  • Dale Burrows<br>For the Enterprise
  • Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:58am

The Dow won’t rise or fall depending on whether you believe it. It doesn’t advance our understanding of man-woman relationships.

But nevertheless, this marvelous Irving Berlin musical does have something to say about men and women.

Ladies, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun.”

What on earth can that possibly mean?

This. Ladies-man Frank Cutler (James Wirth) hits town with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as the world’s number one sharpshooter; number one, that is, until hillbilly local Annie Oakley (Charissa Bertels) goes head to head with gentleman Frank in a shootin’ match and matches him shot for shot.

No fool, Frank; Frank makes Annie his assistant, and the two fall in love “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly.”

Trouble is, there can’t be two number ones. Head-over-heels Annie out-shoots hot shot; deflated Frank departs Wild Bill’s for arch rival Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show and guess what Annie realizes?

Ladies, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun.”

Of course, by trail’s end, Annie and Frank are back together and ironically, by means of a gun and in that sense, Annie does get a man with a gun. All of which shoots down the logic that says she can’t but in no way detracts from all the fun that goes into it.

There are Berlin’s oldies but goodies: “The Girl That I Marry,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “I Got The Sun in The Morning,” “Anything You Can Do” and others.

There are war bonnets, ten-gallon hats, fancy dance-hall gals; backstage jealousies like you read about in soap op mags and a fund-raiser that sets the mark for schmoozing for dollars.

Plus, no doubt about it, newcomer-to-Seattle-stage Bertels in the title role, has a presence and a voice that lights up the show. She is a rising star you can’t take your eyes off. Leading man Wirth had to be strong playing opposite her and was.

Costumes by Masquerade clothe characters just the way you would picture people to look in a traveling show in the Old West. Off-stage music directed by Cathy Bleecker and conducted by Leigh Olson get a jaunty, bouncy quality into Berlin’s score. The whole cast gives off the lighthearted impression everyone is having a good time.

Also, Co-Directors, Stephanie Hippen and Greg Morales, manage to put across that old-fashioned wisdom that’s tough to get around: Ladies, “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun,” not unless Chief Sitting Bull (Mike Way) sets your sights.

See the show. You will see what I mean. Also, you will have a good time.

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