This March, Maui Onstage will put on the lively production of the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun. What makes this production a bit unique is that the Maui OnStage Executive Director herself–Alexis Dascoulias–will play Annie Oakley (and her husband, Steven Dascoulias, plays Frank Butler, her love interest). We caught up with her to find out what attracted her to the character and if she really is good with a gun.
MAUITIME: How did you know you wanted to do Annie Get Your Gun?
ALEXIS DASCOULIAS: Maui OnStage conducts an audience survey every year and Annie Get Your Gun was the top response. It got the most votes. We love the show, and it’s a great, classic American musical. Perfect all around.
MT: Has this show ever been done on Maui before?
AD: I’m sure it has, but as far as I know, not for at least 20 years.
MT: What’s the story of Annie Oakley?
AD: Annie Oakley was a pioneer woman who was strong and confident. She knew what she was capable of and wasn’t afraid or shy about it. At the same time, she was helpful and compassionate. She made friends with everyone and she helped all those around her. She wasn’t a show-off: she simply was a great sharpshooter and wanted to share her talent with the world. As far as Annie Get Your Gun goes: the story is about how she is discovered and how she falls in love with Frank Butler, her real life husband of 50 years.
MT: What was the most memorable moment in making this show come to life?
AD: Oh, gosh, there are so many. One was when the cast put together a full musical number. You rehearse and rehearse and then it finally all comes together and you all feel a great sense of accomplishment.
MT: Have there been any major complications for the cast or crew in bringing this to the Iao Theater stage?
AD: No, no major complications… (knocks on wood).
MT: Is this play based on actual facts or more fictionalized for the viewing pleasure of the audience?
AD: Most of it is factual, although some information is out of order or condensed. And Annie Get Your Gun only deals with a short period of time in the life of Annie Oakley.
MT: Has the cast done anything special to prepare for this show?
AD: We’ve all been wearing cowboy boots and hats a lot and we’ve all had to learn how to carry and shoot a gun.
MT: What’s the message behind the play?
AD: Be yourself and let your talents shine–those who love you, will love you! The premise of the story is that Frank Butler has a difficult time falling in love with Annie because she’s a better marksman than he is. But, when it comes down to it, they decide to be partner in life, in love and in show business.
MT: I bet that does resonate with you and your real husband, who plays Butler. What has gotten you through the grueling hours of rehearsals?
AD: The cast is fun and full of support. Everyone is getting along wonderfully and everyone cheers each other on!
MT: What would be one thing you’d want to say to anyone interested in seeing the show?
AD: Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun is a piece of American musical theater history. Not only is the musical a piece of history, but the story itself is historical. It’s a great musical for the entire family. Young people will enjoy the music and the updated dancing while older people will enjoy the memories of the show from previous productions. One of the anthems for American musical theater comes from Annie Get Your Gun: “There’s No Business Like Show Business!”
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ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm
Directed and choreographed by Brian Swasey
Musical direction by Beth Fobbe Wills
Photos of Alexis & Steven Dascoulias portraying Annie Oakley and Frank Butler: Brett M. Wulfson