HOWDY THEATRE GEEKS! It’s time for another wake up call as we at New York Broadway Tours continue our Top 30 Tony Awards playing you the best of the Theatre scene. Broadway’s biggest night is just around the corner and only 23 days away,
At #23 on our countdown, LET’S GO ON WITH THE SHOW as we take a visit to one of the most famous shows played in the Wild Wild West starring one of the most famous sharp shooters in American History…. Annie Oakley?(1860-1926). It’s a fictional story but the basis of her story of joining Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and winning the romance of fellow sharp shooter Frank Butler (1847-1926) is true. We are talking of course of Irving Berlin‘s classic musical that hits the entertainment bullseye…. ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. It was also written by Dorothy and Herbert Fields.
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN first premiered at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre in 1946 starring the phenomenal “first lady of Musical Theatre belt” Ethel Merman and Ray Middleton running for a total of 1,147 performances. The Tony Awards would be created and given for the first time ever the very next year of 1947. Following the Broadway production came the classic Oscar winning 1950 version of the musical starring Betty Hutton and?Howard Keel. In 1966, it was revived again at Lincoln Center Theater for a limited engagement of 76 performances featuring Merman reprising her performance. It was nominated for 2 Tonys that year loosing both it’s categories (for Best Choreography and Best Direction of A Musical). The most recent revival came in 1999 to Broadway’s Marquis Theatre following an acclaimed out of town tryout at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat. It played a total of 1,080 performances and featured a revamped book by Peter Stone. The revival was nominated for 3 Tony Awards winning 2 including Best Musical and Best Performance By A Leading Actress in A Musical (for Peters).
FUN FACT: Originally Judy Garland was cast in the role of Annie Oakley for the film version of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. MGM producer Arthur Freed?purchased the rights to the film version with Garland starring. However, there was a whole lot of drama. Garland was originally supposed to take 6 months off to recover from going back nonstop on the drugs again. However, the studio forced and threw her right into the movie causing her to feel exhausted, get more sick and a little grumpy. In addition, the original director and choreographed Busby Berkeley gave her the most roughest time making her feel even worst. Garland previously had worked with Berkeley a few times including Girl Crazy (1943 film) which he previously got fired from after causing her to faint. Garland had enough of him trying to get him fired and even not showing up to set. From there, MGM fired her both from the film and ended her contract forever with the studio. Heartbroken, Garland made a few suicide attempts which included breaking a glass and slashing her throat in the bathroom. Also Frank Morgan (who we all know as the title role from The Wizard of Oz) was originally tapped to play Buffalo Bill but unexpectedly died.
The song THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS would become Ethel Merman’s signature song and overall the theme song of being in this World of Entertainment.
How about this toe tapping performance?