Annie Get Your Gun

Definition

Theater

  • Irving Berlin's fast-paced musical about the sharpshooterAnnie Oakley (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee; 1860 - 1926). Its NewYork premiere was in 1946 with the brassy-voiced Ethel Mermanin the lead. The first British production a year later starred DoloresGray and gave the London Coliseum its longest ever run (1304 performances).It has been revived numerous times, the last West End production beingin 1992 at the Prince of Wales Theatre (with Kim Criswell winningrave reviews as Annie).

    The story follows Annie as she joins Buffalo Bill'sWild West Show and becomes the main attraction, even outshooting thefamed marksman Frank Butler. Love ensues but is blocked by pride onboth sides. Annie finally loses a big shooting contest to Frank whenChief Sitting Bull bends her rifle sights. Male pride is restoredand the love match sealed. (The required male triumph does not godown well with many audience members today.)

    Berlin's music includes Sioux Indian dances as well as suchhits as 'Anything You Can Do', 'I Got the Sun in the Morning', 'DoingWhat Comes Naturally', and the show-business anthem 'There's no Businesslike Show Business'.

    An Annie Oakley is US slang for a complimentary theaterticket - probably because a punched ticket is thought to resemble thebullet-riddled playing cards used as targets by the markswoman.

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