Way Off Broadway to Stage ANNIE GET YOUR GUN
Continuing Way Off Broadway's 20th Anniversary Season, the dinner theatre is preparing to welcome gun-slingers and cowboys to the stage this fall with Irving Berlin's musical comedy about the sharpest shooter in the west, Annie Oakley, with Annie Get Your Gun.
Annie Oakley is the best shot around. And when she's discovered by Buffalo Bill, he persuades this novel sharpshooter to join his Wild West Show. It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for the dashing shooting ace Frank Butler. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction which, while good for business, is bad for romance. Butler hightails it off to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out.
This rip-roaring western romp first opened on Broadway in 1946 starring stage legend Ethel Merman as the gun-slinging Annie Oakley. The production was a hit with audiences both in New York and London. The Broadway production ran for nearly three years and 1,147 performances. It was so successful, in 1950 MGM released a film of the musical which Judy Garland had originally been cast as the lead, but was replaced during filming by Betty Hutton. Seven years later, another Broadway superstar, Mary Martin, stepped into the role of Annie for an NBC television broadcast of the show.
In 1966, Lincoln Center revived Annie Get Your Gun for a very limited Broadway run, once again starring Merman. Following that, Annie Oakley and the gang did not return to the Great White Way until 1999 when a new production starring Bernadette Peters as Annie and Tom Wopat as Frank Butler opened at the Marquis Theatre. When Peters, who won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical that year, left the production, she was replaced by country star Reba McEntire. The 1999 revival "scored a bulls eye" when it returned to Broadway with a revised libretto by Tony, Oscar, and Emmy winner Peter Stone.
"Annie Get Your Gun has been a show we have talked about producing for many, many years," says Justin M. Kiska, Way Off Broadway's President and Managing Director. "We all love the show but we were just never able to get it in the right place on our schedule. When our 20th Anniversary Season came around we saw we had the perfect spot for it on the calendar and knew it had to be a part of the season."
Under the direction of Bill Kiska, Way Off Broadway's Executive Producer, the theatre's production will be based on the Stone revival and will be the first time Annie Get Your Gun has been seen in the Frederick area in a very long time.
Stepping into the boots of the sharp shooting, wise-cracking Annie Oakley is Jaimie Lea Kiska, with Jordan B. Stocksdale taking on the role of Frank Butler, the man Annie both loves, hates (at times), and competes with throughout the story. This will mark the second time this season Kiska and Stocksdale have played the romantic comedy leads off one another, having appeared as Kathy Selden and Don Lockwood, respectively, in Singin' in the Rain.
The two will be joined by a number of performers bringing all of the characters in this Wild West show to life including Sarah Biggs, Mary Ellen Cameron, Matthew Ciazza, Charlie Cizek, Katharine Ford, Daniel Hafer, Ariel Hanke, Samn Huffer, Audrey Kilgore, Trey T. Kiska, Keller Knight, Brady Love, Melissa Ann Martin, Matthew A. Mastromatteo, Mallory Rome, Thomas Stratton, Luke Szukalski, Tori Weaver, and Ariel Messeca as Buffalo Bill Cody.
Annie Get Your Gun has music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and an original book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, which was revised by Peter Stone. Way Off Broadway's production will run September 5 - October 11, 2014, with choreography by Dee Buchanan and music direction by Jordan B. Stocksdale.
Performances are every Friday and Saturday evening, with matinees on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of the month. Tickets on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon are $43 per person for dinner and the show. On Saturday evenings, tickets are $47 per person.
Annie Get Your Gun will be followed later this season by Way Off Broadway's 20th Anniversary Revue and It's Christmas.