Read, Aim ... Sing!

Annie Get Your Gun begins Theatre Guild season

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

In its 35-year history, the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild has produced almost every legendary musical you can think of, from Hello Dolly to Oklahoma! to The Sound of Music. Yet somehow it’s never staged the 1946 classic Annie Get Your Gun, an oversight the troupe is happy to rectify this fall. CVTG will kick off its 35th season with the rootin’, tootin’ Old West romance about the members of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, including naïve teenage sharpshooter Annie Oakley (Cassie Pearson) and the man she falls for, fellow marksman Frank Butler (Joel Breed). The musical is based on a true story, and it’s presented as a show-within-a-show, with Buffalo Bill (Josh Hammes-Murray) introducing the production to the real-life audience. “What I like about it is it’s gloriously low tech,” says director Mike Cook. “Because it’s in that era – the 1890s – and it’s in a tent, it has to be low-tech.” Even if you’ve never seen the show, you’ll find yourself humming along to its Irving Berlin standards, including “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Anything You Can Do.” Cook lauds the leading lady, Pearson, whom he directed in the same role at Chippewa Falls High School a few years back. “She looks the part, she sounds the part, and she’s got such an engaging personality in real life, and she infuses Annie Oakley with that personality,” he says. Like the frontier sharpshooters it celebrates, this production promises to make a bull’s-eye on your heart.

Annie Get Your Gun, presented by the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild • Oct. 1-3, 7:30pm. and Oct. 4, 1:30pm • The State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire • $22 adults, $20 seniors, $10 youth/student/military • (715) 832-7529 •