Norman Pace: Annie Get Your Gun 'Stands the test of time'

We speak to Norman Pace as he dons his cowboy outfit for a new revival of ”Annie Get Your Gun” which tours the UK from this week.

What attracted you to the show?

Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill Cody
Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill Cody

I knew that it would be a top class production. I’ve been lucky to work with the director, Ian Talbot, before. The piece itself stands the test of time and has a fantastic score of hit songs.

Tell us a bit about your character

I play Colonel Buffalo Bill Cody. He was a real life character who was a complete gentleman and a supporter of Native American rights and Women’s rights. He ran his own Wild West Show that toured the world. In the show, he is an entrepreneur and the Front Man.

Why do you think the show is still popular after all this time?

The great thing about Annie Get Your Gun is that it’s packed full of really great songs, lots and lots of good jokes and a brilliantly tempestuous love story between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, who of course were real people that met through being involved in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and fell in love despite being very opposite people.

You have played comedy and drama. Does this role feature a mix of the two?

Well, interestingly enough, I’m pretty much a straight man in this show, while Jason Donovan and Emma Williams get all the funny lines to deliver. It’s great for me to be able to do a bit of straight acting and stretch myself more so that I’m out of my comfort zone.

What do you like about performing on stage?

The main that I love about being on stage is the buzz that you get from performing in front of a live audience and getting that instant reaction to what you’re doing. Since I was five years old I’ve been hooked on performing… there is no better feeling than entertaining an audience and I still can’t believe that they pay us to do it every night…

Are you recognised?

I get recognised less than when we did Hale and Pace back in the 80’s and people were used to seeing me on their TV in the living so regularly. I’m pleased that I’m not recognised so often, if I’m honest. It’s really nice to be able to go to the supermarket without any fuss. Saying that, once in a while I get spotted and it’s rather nice to know that someone out there remembers me.

What’s your favourite song in the show?

"There’s No Business Like Show Business" because it sums up my point of view entirely.

Why should people see this revival?

The main reason is because it’s a fun show that all of the family can enjoy together, with some brilliant songs that have stood the test of time, as well as a production that brings the musical right up to day thanks to the brilliant casting of Jason Donovan as Frank Butler and Emma Williams as Annie Oakley. We’re having so much fun working on the show and can’t wait to show what we’ve done to audiences across the country.

Annie Get Your Gun runs at The Manchester Opera House from 16 – 24 May and then tours the UK.