Calamity Jane, beloved heroine of the technicolour Wild West, is riding a little closer to home this time. The original sharpshooter may not have visited Scotland, but with the help of MAMA (Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association) and their talented cast, Scottish audiences can experience the cowboy drama play out firsthand.
MAMA are no strangers to this song-packed, whip-crackin’ story; the last time they performed Calamity Jane was in 2006, although the director Graeme Aitken has promised that the production will not just be a re-enactment of previous successes. The crew is putting a more modern spin on the musical by emphasising the strong women and their achievements, while focusing on other, less well-known aspects of Calamity Jane’s personality such as her empathy and kindness.
However, the theatre group is making sure to keep the most famous aspects of this show intact – the Oscar-nominated score, with classics such as The Black Hills of Dakota, is still very much a part of this contemporary iteration. Musical director Laura Paterson has spent a lot of time with the non-professional cast, ensuring that every actor feels confident singing the challenging score onstage.
The leading lady Jenna Lee is also looking forward to the challenge of playing Calamity, especially in contrast to the other roles she’s starred in recently, such as Reno in Anything Goes. She said: “[I’ve] had to ditch the glitz, glamour and pretences… [Calamity Jane] is quite different from most of the parts [I’ve] played in the past”.
So slap a Stetson on your head, down a sarsparilla, and get yourself to the Brunton for MAMA’s spring production!
Calamity Jane is @ Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, from Thu 12 – Sat 14 April @ 7:30pm (2pm Saturday matinee)
Tickets are available from the Brunton Theatre (0131 665 2240)