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Musical Theater
Annie Get Your Gun
Sun, Aug 6, 2:30 - 5:00 pm
Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center
Originally produced by Rodgers and Hammestein, Annie Get Your Gun starring Ethel Merman opened at the Imperal Theatre in New York City on May 16, 1946, and ran for 1,147 performances. The score, generally considered Berlin's best, contains many memorable songs and veritable hits, including the song which has become the professional anthem of the entertainment industry, "There's No Business Like Show Business."
OFAM is pleased to present our own new production of the 1999 updated Broadway revival, originally starring Bernadette Peters. Our own favorite Shirley Andress takes over for Ethel and Bernadette in a fresh new production set by Richard Jessup with sets by Jerry Hooker.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West arrives at a sleepy town in Ohio and, as a part of the pre-show promotion, challenges all local comers to take on the show's star sharpshooter, Frank Butler. The hotelier where the show is staying puts up Annie Oakley, a young woman who sells game to his kitchen. Annie beats Frank and Buffalo Bill persuades her to join the Wild West as Frank's assistant. Annie falls for Frank, and Frank falls for Annie, but Annie's talents inevitably begin to overshadow Frank's and she becomes a bigger star than he. Frank tries to take it in stride, but on the night he plans to ask him to marry her, Annie, wanting to really impress him, completely upstages his act with an amazing feat of marksmanship that has the crowds in an uproar. This is just too much for Frank and he leaves the Wild West to join the show of Buffalo Bill's rival, Pawnee Bill. Chief Sitting Bull, another star of the Wild West who has adopted Annie, tries to console her, but she is grief-stricken.
Annie sails to Europe with the Wild West and becomes one of the most famous women in the world, wowing audiences and collecting medals wherever she goes. Unfortunately, Buffalo Bill is obliged to give so many free shows to European royalty that the show returns to New York deeply in debt. Buffalo Bill has heard, however, that Pawnee Bill is rolling in dough and he invites his rival to a big bash in hopes to convince him to combine the two shows, thereby avoiding bankruptcy. Pawnee Bill is, unfortunately, just as in debt and has the same plan. All Annie cares about is winning back the heart of Frank Butler, while Frank, just as in love with Annie, hopes to win her back too. Unfortunately, Annie plans on winning Frank back by impressing him with all her medals, while he plans to win her back by giving her his one medal.
The inevitable happens. The two Bills realize that they are each dead broke, and Annie manages to completely bungle it again with Frank by blowing his single medal away by her hundreds. They get into a one-upmanship ("Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better"), which leads to another shooting match to prove once and for all who's best. Chief Sitting Bull finally decides to set Annie straight--or at least make her a bit more gracious--and suggests she deliberately lose the match if she wants to win Frank. This Annie does, but Frank is wise to her trick and being a totally cool dude (completely worthy of Annie's affections, after all), misses too. Buffalo Bill declares the match a tie, Annie gives all of her medals to the Bills to bankroll their new, combined show, Annie and Frank get together, and all live happily ever after!
The real Annie Oakley (1860-1926) would probably have been mortified by the image that Irving Berlin's 1946 hit musical Annie Get Your Gun painted of her, and as wonderful as the musical is, we owe it to Ms. Oakley to get the record straight!
Born Phoebe Anne Moses in 1860 in Darke County, Ohio, Annie was indeed set up by one of her customers, a hotelier, in a shooting competition against sharpshooter Frank Butler. She was 15 at the time and beat him. Butler was immediately smitten by the determined young woman, and within a year they were married. Six years later the Butlers began to perform together in public and Annie, certainly in part because a woman sharpshooter was a novelty, outstripped Frank's fame. But unlike the Frank Butler of the musical, the real Frank was never threatened by Annie.
In 1884 the great Lakota spiritual leader Sitting Bull saw the Butler's act in St. Paul and gave her the name "Little Sure Shot". He was, at the time, imprisoned at Fort Yates for his part in the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 (the same year the Butlers had married) as well as subsequent hostilities. In 1885, the Butlers joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Annie was clearly billed as the star by this time, which Frank fully accepted and indeed promoted. The couple remained with the show for 16 years. As an aside Sitting Bull also joined the Wild West in1885, but only stayed with the show four months, due to his discomfort in Anglo society. He immersed himself in Lakota culture and spiritualism and was murdered in 1890 by Lakota policeman who had been commissioned by the BIA to keep Sitting Bull from joining the Ghost Dance movement.
This takes the Butlers' history up through the story told by the musical. After a long career together in show business and 50 years of marriage, the Butlers both died in November, 1926, within 3 weeks of each other. A legend in her own time, Annie Oakley lived on in literature, plays, film and the even comic books.
Berlin's 1946 hit musical can be forgiven for most of the license it took with Annie Oakley's story...it was, after all, popular entertainment. Two characteristizations, however, were unfortunate. First, the real Annie Oakley was nothing like the rustic, brash woman that Ethel Merman made her out to be. She was by all accounts, determined, competitive, serious, and "a lady" even in the rustic setting portrayed by her profession. Second, Annie's husband Frank was poorly used by the original musical, which makes him out to be a male chauvinist and an arogant chump. The 1999 revival not only removed the most objectionable aspects of the original's treatment of Native Americans, it also leaves us with a far more accurate impression of Frank Butler...a man who never would have robbed his wife of her greatness.
There are many good treatments of Annie Oakley in print and on the web. See the next section for links.
Event Personnel
Creative Team
Richard H. Jessup, director & choreographer
James Paul, music director & conductor
Jerry Hooker, set design
Kelly Baum, lighting design
Cast
Shirley Andress, Annie Oakley
Jeff Allen Pierce, Frank Butler
Patrick Torelle, Buffalo Bill
Evynne Hollens, Winnie Tate
Kaitlyn Sage, Jessie, Annie's little sister
Mark Huisenga, Charlie Davenport
Female Ensemble
Male Ensemble
Ticket/Venue Info
Annie Get Your Gun Ticket Prices
Seat LvlFull PriceDiscount Prices
15%  20%  25%  Stud. 
AA48.00  41.00  38.50  36.00  24.00 
A38.00  32.50  30.50  28.50  19.00 
B30.00  25.50  24.00  22.50  15.00 
C22.00  18.75  17.75  16.50  11.00 
Silva Concert Hall
Hult Center for the Performing Arts
One Eugene Center
Eugene, Oregon
541-682-5000

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Purchase tickets at:
The Shedd Ticket Office
541.434.7000
Irving Berlin's America Musical Overview
Irving Berlin's America Schedule
Tuesday Aug 1
6:00 pmG. Bellows' America
Thursday Aug 3
10:00 amThe Cocoanuts
1:30 pmAlex's Ragtime Band
4:30 pmBerlin's Songs
7:30 pmCheek To Cheek
Friday Aug 4
10:00 amTop Hat
2:30 pmHeat Wave
4:30 pm20s In Revue
7:30 pmBlue Skies
Saturday Aug 5
10:00 amLet Yourself Go!
2:30 pmA Day In The Life
4:30 pmThe Real Anthem
7:30 pmAnnie Get Your Gun
Sunday Aug 6
2:30 pmAnnie Get Your Gun
Tuesday Aug 8
10:00 amAnnie Get Your Gun
7:30 pmAnnie Get Your Gun
Wednesday Aug 9
10:00 amFollow The Fleet
2:30 pmCome On And Hear
4:30 pmTin Pan Alley & The South
7:30 pmAnnie Get Your Gun
Thursday Aug 10
10:00 amHoliday Inn
2:30 pmFace The Music
4:30 pmBerlin The Man
7:30 pmYou're Just In Love
Friday Aug 11
10:00 amCall Me Madam
2:30 pmMan Bites Dog
4:30 pmBerlin On America
7:30 pmAnnie Get Your Gun
Saturday Aug 12
2:30 pmMy Walking Stick
7:30 pmSay It With Music
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts (The Shedd)
E. Broadway & High Street, Eugene | PO Box 1497, Eugene OR 97440-1497 | Phone 541.687.6526 | Tickets: 541.434.7000 | Email: info@theshedd.net
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