REVIEW: Mill Town Players Deliver Sparkling ‘Annie Get Your Gun’

Photo by Escobar Photography LLC

BY SANDY STAGGS
DRAMA CRITIC

One could say the Mill Town Players are ending their fifth season with a BANG!

Well, many bangs actually in their glorious new revival of “Annie Get Your Gun” through August 4 in Pelzer.

This beautifully-staged production about the life of legendary pistol-packing mama Annie Oakley gets the full treatment in the troupe’s first outing since earning national acclaim at the American Association of Community Theatres conference in Pennsylvania.

Loosely based on the trailblazing sharpshooter’s meteoric rise from hillbilly to international star wingshot and her love for marksman and future husband Frank E. Butler, Annie Get Your Gun (1946) was written by Dorothy Fields and her brother Herbert Fields, with music and lyrics by the one and only Irving Berlin, and produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Sarah Greene gives a star-making turn in the role that was created for the legendary Ethel Merman. From the young clueless hick charged with caring for her three younger siblings, to her chance encounter with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Greene embraces Annie with rambunctiousness and femininity, with a tomboy streak.

And she meets her match in the show’s gun slinging star Butler (a dynamite Bradley Lucore) only to fall in love ( “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun.”

Framed as a show within the show, Will Ragland (completely unrecognizable) is our narrator the famous frontiersman Buffalo Bill Cody.

This is the revised 1999 version that omitted some of the derogatory songs about native Americans, but Chief Sitting Bull (Joe Welborn in a headdress) is still in the show.

Annie Get Your Gun also features a wealth of incredible songs that were Ethel Merman signature ditties such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do.”

Theatre in the Upstate doesn’t get much better than Annie Get Your Gun, and neither does scenic design. The impeccable set by Ragland recreates a big top traveling show with bright red and gold curtains and a phenomenal period sign that is as wide as the stage.

Annie Get Your Gun is directed and choreographed by Lauren Imhoff (2016’s Oklahoma!), music directed by Julie Florin, and includes an all-female creative team.

Annie Get Your Gun” continues Thursdays-Sundays through August 4 at the historic Pelzer Auditorium, 210 Lebby St. in Pelzer. For tickets, call (864) 947-8000 or visit www.milltownplayers.org

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