Narrows Community Theater (NCT) continues to mount high-quality classic Broadway adaptations.
This time around, the company is running a production of “Annie Get Your Gun,” a classic musical that made its debut in 1946 and was revived in 1999. The tale is a fictionalized portrayal of American Sharpshooter Annie Oakley. During the show, she meets her match, romantically and professionally, in gunslinger Frank Butler while the two are performing as part of the famous traveling show headlined by the legendary Buffalo Bill.
“It’s a love story,” said Jennifer Prezioso, who will be playing the lead role of Oakley. “I think of it a bit as a show within a show idea. The premise of the show is love and being confident.”
In terms of script and score, the NCT adaptation of the musical will be akin to the 1999 revival to avoid offensive scenes. “We wanted to make it more respectful to all cultures and we’ve done the best we could so everyone feels comfortable,” Prezioso said. “Some things that are sensitive towards race needed to be adjusted.”
The cast may not be as big as other productions, but that lets others have their moment to shine. “The cast size is a bit smaller and it’s served everyone well because they have stage time and great solo numbers,” she said.
Audiences can expect lots of music numbers, which was a challenge during production for all the performers to perfect. “This is a difficult score,” said Prezioso who sings about 13 of the 17 songs. “It’s very demanding with all the harmonies and all that stuff. (Musical Director) Paolo Perez definitely worked us and made sure we were comfortable. He’s been great.”
Prezioso, who is performing in her third NCT show, also discussed the significance of everyone involved in show. “The director Drew Franklin has been really great to work with,” she said. “He’s worked on Broadway. He did the ‘Elf the Musical.’ He has a really sensible way of speaking to actors.”
She also credits choreographer Heather Shore with helping to provide special theatrical moments.
Sets and costumes also play a significant role in this adaptation. “I’ve never seen a set at NCT thus far like this. All the bits and pieces are coming together,” Prezioso said, adding that, “Everyone in cast has contributed [to the sets]. They were drilling and painting. I cut some wood.”
In addition, said Prezioso, “Courtney Leigh Newman, the costume designer, has such an amazing job with a lot of period pieces and vintage finds. When the lights go off, it’s 1880s New York,” she said.
As for the all-important role of Oakley, Prezioso is both honored and well-prepared to portray her. “For me, it’s the largest role I’ve ever had. I’ve usually had supporting roles, so it’s great to be a part of this,” she said, adding that she admires the character’s talent and wit. “The role is a lot of fun to play. It’s a much more ambitious and grand performance.”
Nonetheless, the Poly Prep alum appears undaunted by the challenge. “Everyone is going to enjoy it, especially towards the end scene. There is a lot of fun stuff. And really nice old fashioned musical theater moments, which is nice to see come again,” she said.
Like always, fans can expect a high-quality production at a low cost. “This is something that the community deserves. They deserve to have awesome professional shows,” she said. “Not everyone can go to Broadway and spend the money.”
There are profound lessons in the show that Prezioso hopes audiences can take away with them. “There are great moments throughout the show of feminism. I love those moments,” she said. “It’s important to be confident and realize it’s not what’s on the outside but inside of her that matters.”
“Annie Get Your Gun” will be performed at Fort Hamilton Army Base Theater, 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway. Performances will be held on Fridays, June 10 and 17 at 8 p.m., Saturdays, June 11 and 18 at 8 p.m., and Sundays, June 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students. For additional prices or to purchase tickets, visit www.narrowscommunitytheater.com.