ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin : Book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields
New York Imperial Theatre 16 May, 1946 (1147 perfs)
London Coliseum June 7, 1947 (1304 perfs)
Annie Oakley is a poor, but spirited and happy, country girl who lives by her native sharp-shooting quickly makes her the star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show where she meets and falls in love with expert rifleman Frank Butler. Unfortunately, the tough, outspoken Annie is not Frank's idea of what a wife should be and the two remain at competitive odds. Then Annie is initiated into an Indian tribe whose Chief, Sitting Bull, gives her some good advice: only by deliberately, but discreetly, losing a shooting contest can she win Frank. Annie does so and the show ends with the exuberant climax "There's No Business Like Show Business".
As the overture comes to an end a huge poster advertising Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show flies out to reveal the lawn and front porch of the Wilson Hotel. Charlie Davenport with other members of Buffalo Bill's troupe announce the show to the guests. Charlie wants to match the show's sharpshooter, Frank Butler, against a local marksman. The hotel's owner refuses. Wilson has just had Pawnee Bill's Far East Show staying and, after that experience, he wants nothing more to do with show folk. Frank tries to convince Wilson to allow the match but even a $100 side bet won't persuade him.
Frank admits his character to the admiring females who surround him when he sings "I'm a Bad, Bad Man".
Suddenly the stuffed bird on Charlie's sister Dolly's hat is shot off. Annie Oakley has mistaken it for the real thing. Annie is there to offer Wilson birds for the table with no buck-shot in them - she always kills with one shot to the head. Wilson says he'll take two dozen, but Annie and the four siblings who follow her around are only able to count to twenty.
With Annie on the scene Wilson reckons that he can win his bet with Butler, and the shooting match is now on. When Frank re-appears, Annie is instantly smitten by him. She tells him that she has a shooting match lined up with a 'swollen-headed stiff', not realizing to whom she is talking. Frank explains about the kind of girl he is looking for, leaving Annie to lament that You Can't Get A Man With A Gun.
After Annie wins the match, Charlie and Bill want her in the show. With the help of Frank they convince Annie to join the company and tour with them.
The troupe are aboard a train upon which the Indians have converted one of the sleeping cars into an Indian village, much to the conductor's disgust. While the others go to eat, Annie's youngest sibling, Little Jake, tries to teach her to read. Annie doesn't want Frank finding out that she is illiterate, just when he is considering making her his partner on stage: Annie is still hoping for another kind of partnership - and Frank is weakening.
Annie, Bill and Charlie are enthusiastically plotting a thrilling new act for the show involving a motorcycle for Annie. Their combined plan is to outshine Pawnee Bill's show completely and to impress Frank so much that he has to ask Annie to marry him. The scene ends with Annie singing her little brothers and sisters to sleep. Annie is now on the poster advertising the show and Frank is less than happy. Pawnee Bill arrives with his troupe, meeting his old friend and rival Buffalo Bill. Pawnee Bill has Sitting Bull as a new attraction.
With Annie ready to go on for her new act, Frank is about to propose. However, after the success of her surprise stunt, he is furious. Sitting Bull adopts Annie into the Sioux tribe but the first act ends with Annie discovering that Frank has left her behind to do his old act with Pawnee Bill instead.
Act two opens with Buffalo Bill's troupe returning from touring Europe on the deck of a cattle boat, flat broke. Pawnee Bill's messenger arrives to meet them with an invitation to a grand reception. Bill and Frank hatch a scheme of merging with Pawnee Bill's company to keep their own show afloat. Annie still clings to her dreams of a much more personal sort of merger with Frank Butler.
At the reception, it turns out that Pawnee Bill is broke as well. The merger is off unless money can be got from somewhere. Annie willingly agrees to sell all her medals that she gained on the European tour.
Frank and Annie finally declare their love for each other. He offers her his three medals as a gift, but when he sees the chestful of medals she already has, the old rivalry between them breaks out again. A shoot-out is arranged for the next day on Governor's Island.
On the loading platform for the ferry, Dolly is caught by Charlie and Sitting Bull on the point of bending Annie's gun sights with a pair of pliers. They scare Dolly off, but then decide to do the bending themselves - they figure that if it's fixed for Annie to lose the match, Frank will then want to marry her.
Before the shooting match can even begin, Annie and Frank are sparring with each other as usual. When they start to shoot, Annie misses the target. Frank lends her his gun, and immediately she is back on form again. Sitting Bull quietly suggest that she throw the match and win the man. She does. As predicted, Frank is happy and Annie finally gets her man.
M25, F20 (in order of appearance)
Scenes and Settings
Scene 1 - The Wilson House, a summer hotel on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio, July.
Scene 2 - A Pullman Parlour in an Overland Steam Train. Six weeks later.
Scene 3 - The Fair Grounds at Minneapolis, Minn. A few days later.
Scene 4 - The Arena of the Big Tent.
Scene 5 - A Dressing-room Tent. The same day.
Scene 6 - The Arena of the Big Tent. Later that night
Scene 7 - The Deck of a Cattle Boat. Eight months later.
Scene 8 - Ballroom of the Hotel Brevoort. The next night.
Scene 9 - Aboard a Ferry. En route to Governor's Island. Next morning.
Scene 10 - Governor's Island. Near the Fort. Immediately following.
Musical Numbers: Original version.
(The revised version for amateur performance loses the characters of Dolly and Winnie Tate)
- To open scene one - I'm a Bad, Bad Man
1a. Melos - Colonel Buffalo Bill
- Song (Charlie and Ensemble) - Colonel Buffalo Bill - Who's got the stuff?
- Song (Frank and Girls) - I'm a Bad, Bad Man - I'm honoured
3a. Dance - I'm a Bad, Bad Man
- Song (Annie, Kids and Wilson) - Doin' What Comes Natur'lly - Folks are dumb
- Song (Frank) - The Girl That I Marry - The girl that I marry
- Song (Annie) - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun - Oh, my mother
6a. Encore (Annie) - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun - If I shot a Rabbit
- Entrance of Buffalo Bill - I'm a Bad, Bad Man
- Gun Fantasy
- Melos - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun
- Quartet (Charlie, Buffalo Bill, Frank and Annie) - There's No
Business Like Show Business - The Cowboys, the Wrestlers
10a. - Train Scene - There's No Business Like Show Business
- Duet (Frank and Annie) - They Say It's Wonderful - They say that falling in love is wonderful
- Song (Annie and Porters) - Moonshine Lullaby - Behind the hill
- To open scene three - Colonel Buffalo Bill
- Duet (Tommy and Winnie) - I'll Share It All With You - What is mine, dear
- To open scene four - There's No Business Like Show Business
- Circus Dance
- Reprise (Annie) - There's No Business Like Show Business - There's No Business Like Show Business
- Song (Frank and Chorus) - My Defences Are Down - I've had my way
- To open scene five - Colonel Buffalo Bill
- To open scene Six - Drum Dance (Wild Horse, Braves and Maidens)
- Ceremonial Chant
- Song (Annie) - I'm An Indian Too - Like the Seminole
22a - Dance - I'm An Indian Too
- Finale Act I
- To open scene seven - Colonel Buffalo Bill
- Song (Annie and Ensemble) - I Got Lost In His Arms - Don't
ask me, just how it happened
26a - Change of scene music - I Got Lost In His Arms
- Ball Room, Scene eight - The Girl That I Marry
- Duet & Dance (Tommy and Winnie) - Who Do You Love I Hope? - I've got the question
- Dance - I'll Share It All With You
- Song (Annie and Ensemble) - I Got the Sun in the Morning -
Taking stock of what I have
30a - Exit Music - I Got the Sun in the Morning - Sunshine gives me a lovely day
- Reprise (Annie and Frank) - They Say It's Wonderful - They say that falling in love is wonderful
- Reprise (Frank) - The Girl That I Marry - The girl that I marry
- To open scene nine - I Got the Sun in the Morning
- Reprise - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun
- Duet (Annie and Frank) - Anything You Can Do - Anything you can do
- Reprise - You Can't Get a Man With a Gun
- Ensemble - There's No Business Like Show Business - There's no business like show business
- Finale (Full Company) - They Say It's Wonderful - They say that falling in love is wonderful
NB: This title is restricted-please enquire before commencing rehearsals
Piano, 1st and 2nd Violins, Viola, Cello, Bass, 1st and 2nd Trumpets, 1st and 2nd Trombones, Flute doubling Piccolo, 1st and 2nd E flat Sax doubling Clarinet, 1st and 2nd B flat Sax doubling Clarinet, Drums