No biz like show biz at Broadway by the Bay

Sharpshooter Annie Oakley has no idea there’s no business like show business when she decides to join a Wild West show traveling through her town.

Broadway by the Bay presents “Annie Get Your Gun” at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. The show opens Thursday and runs through Oct. 7. Featuring music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, the musical opened on Broadway in May 1946. Broadway by the Bay’s production is a retooled version of the show from 1999 with an updated libretto by award-winning author Peter Stone.

Illiterate hillbilly Annie, with a knack for shooting guns, falls hopelessly in love with Frank Butler, the traveling Wild West show’s featured shooting ace. However, she soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction, which is good for show business, but bad for romance.

David Sattler, who was ecstatic to see the revival of the show on Broadway, plays Frank Butler for Broadway by the Bay, marking his second time in the role; he appeared in a smaller production in Florida. He says, “As an actor it is easy to be a showman and center of attention. Frank is very popularand charismatic with everyone. Guys identify when they don’t want Annie to be equal with Frank, but you ultimately want them to get together.”

He especially likes leading the ensemble in the opening “There’s No Business Like Show Business” number.

When Virginia Wilcox was 14, she ran the spotlight for “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Children’s Theater Company in Walnut Creek. She says, “I saw every performance and knew all the songs. Making my first appearance with Broadway by the Bay, it is a dream come true, taking the role of Annie.”

She describes Annie as an adventurous young woman, talented and confident, but not cocky. She cares about people and especially loves her family.

“Like Annie, I enjoy my life, having fun with everything I do, and feel when I’m put upon, I want to make it right,” Wilcox says.

Learning to shoot a gun has been her most difficult task. “Having a gun in my hand throughout the show is a real challenge,” she says.

Broadway by the Bay’s show represents a family affair for Redwood City resident John Duggan and his twin sons, Khail and Nik. The boys play roustabouts in the circus, singing, dancing and keeping the show rolling; Duggan plays Sitting Bull.

“My job is to bring humor to the show and act as a father figure to Annie. Maintaining this character with a lot of interaction with others requires huge amount of energy,” Duggan says.

BBB veteran John Musgrave has seriously studied his part, Buffalo Bill. He says, “Although he was originally from the Midwest, this show features him as a Southern gentleman. As a dominant figure six-food-two, people relate to me as a real gentleman with show biz pizzazz.”

The show is directed by Alex Perez and choreographed by Jayne Zaban; the musical director is Mark Hanson.

IF YOU GO

Annie Get Your Gun

Where: San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 North Delaware St., San Mateo

Tickets: $17 to $42

Contact: (650) 579-5565 or visit www.broadwaybythebay.org    

jgross@examiner.com

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