Recently, people of all ages gathered to see the Performing Arts department at Suny Cortland put on the musical “Annie Get Your Gun”. The crowd of campus as well as local community members almost filled Dowd Fine Arts Theater for the last Friday Night performance.
The music and lyrics for “Annie Get Your Gun” were originally written by Irving Berlin and the musical was based off of a book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields. The musical takes place in the wild west and takes the audience though the life of Annie Oakley, performed by Liz Earle.
Annie comes from a simple life but has taught herself to be an excellent sharpshooter. She happens into “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show where Frank, played by Matt Henningsen, is the star sharpshooter. Annie starts out as Frank’s assistant in the show. Soon they catch feelings for each other.
Though Frank soon realizes how talented Annie is when she performs her special trick on a bicycle and things get derailed when Annie steals the show. Frank, feeling threatened about not being the best sharpshooter and worried that he will become Annie’s assistant, puts aside his true feelings for Annie and joins a rival wild west show to perform a show with Dolly Tate, played by Nicole Furka.
After returning broke from touring overseas, Buffalo Bill decides to merge his show with old rival Pawnee Bill, whose show Frank has been performing with. Both shows think the other show has lots of money, though both are actually broke. Annie is set against merging until she reunites with Frank at a ballroom party in New York City and discovers he has no money. The two sharpshooters plan to sell their medals to bail out the shows.
Again though Frank gets caught up in himself when he discovers he does not have as many medals as Annie. Frank aggressively asks for a winner-take-all shooting match, which ends up in a tie when both come to realize that by winning they will lose each other. Frank puts his jealousy behind him and partners up with Annie. The shows merge successfully and Frank and Annie go on to get married and their show becomes famous, leading to a great romantic ending.
The play had people at the edge of their seats as they hoped that Annie and Frank would unite. There was many different types of songs, from a lullaby to more energetic songs like their leading song, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (Berlin).
One of the most popular songs that grabbed everyone’s attention was “Anything You Can Do” (Berlin). I could hear people in the audience whisper about how they knew this song. The song is about two people arguing about who is best at doing something, which many people can relate to with rivalries with their siblings.
People smiled at the many jokes and you could feel the raw emotion that the characters gave. The cast was passionate about singing and performing, which really engaged the audience. The stage was creatively transformed into the wild west and the stage props and artwork created details that made the stage feel lively.
Students and families should take the time to come see the Performing Arts department’s other upcoming performance.