Great Britain waited 39 years for a second major stage production of Annie Get Your Gun after the first version in 1947, the year following the Broadway opening. But on July 29, 1986, a revival mounted by the Chichester Festival Theatre was launched at the West End's Aldwych Theatre starring American-born pop singer Suzi Quatro as sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Eric Flynn as her rival and lover Frank Butler. Quatro was familiar to British audiences for her string of rock hits in the 1970s, but this was not merely stunt casting. Stepping into shoes once occupied by Ethel Merman (and by Dolores Gray in the U.K.), Quatro gave a fresh, vulnerable interpretation to the part. A bit breathy in the upper register, she was not a belter like Merman, but emphasized the tunefulness of the songs. She was closer to Betty Hutton, who starred in the film version, actually, though she did not really come down on the laugh lines of the songs, preferring to give a less comic performance.. Flynn, like the rest of the cast, was sturdy and supportive. This version of the show was based on the 1966 Broadway revival that gave added attention to the leads, including an extra song, "Old Fashioned Wedding," while cutting back on the secondary leads, who lost their one duet, "Who Do You Love, I Hope." The revision was not an improvement, nor were David Firman's arrangements, but this cast album gave a good sense of the production's verve, including the rarely heard "Wild Horse Ceremonial Dance." Despite the many strong singer-actresses who followed her, no one was ever likely to make people forget Ethel Merman. But Suzi Quatro demonstrated that there were many ways to play the part of Annie Oakley, and hers was very enjoyable in its own way.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Annie Get Your Gun, musical|