Annie Get Your Gun (musical)

Infobox Musical
name= Annie Get Your Gun

caption=Broadway 1946 Original Cast Album
music=Irving Berlin
lyrics=Irving Berlin
book=Herbert Fields
Dorothy Fields
productions= 1946 Broadway
1947 West End
1947 U.S. Tour
1947 Australia
1966 Broadway revival
1992 West End
1999 Broadway revival
2000 U.S. Tour
awards= 1999 Tony Award for Best Revival

"Annie Get Your Gun" is a musical with lyrics and music written by Irving Berlin and a book by Herbert Fields and his sister Dorothy Fields. The story is a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley (1860-1926), who was a sharpshooter from Ohio, and her husband, Frank Butler. [A number of Internet sources claim that the musical is based on Walter Havighurst's book "Annie Oakley of the Wild West", but the book was written in 1954, eight years after the musical was first produced.]

The 1946 Broadway production was a hit, and the musical had long runs in both New York (1,147 performances) and London, spawning revivals, a 1950 film version and television versions. Songs that became hits include "There's No Business Like Show Business", "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly", "You Can't Get A Man With A Gun", "They Say It's Wonderful", and "Anything You Can Do."

History and background

Dorothy Fields had the idea for a musical about Annie Oakley, to star her friend, Ethel Merman. After producer Mike Todd turned the project down, Fields and Merman went to a new producing team, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who agreed to produce, with Jerome Kern writing the music to Fields' lyrics and book (together with her brother Herbert). However, before he could produce the score, Kern died suddenly. The producers and Fields then asked Irving Berlin to take on the job of writing both lyrics and music. Berlin initially thought it was not quite "up his alley," worrying that he would be unable to write songs to fit specific scenes in "a situation show." He was eventually persuaded by being able to work with the director, Josh Logan. [ R&H Theatricals background information] ]

The musical's showstopper song, "There's No Business Like Show Business," was almost left out of the show because Berlin, mistakenly, got the impression that one of the producers, Richard Rodgers, did not like it. ["The World of Musical Comedy:The Story of the American Musical" (1984), Stanley Green, pp. 79-80, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0306802074]

For the revised 1999 revival, the writer Peter Stone said, "The big challenge is taking a book that was wonderfully crafted for its time and make it wonderfully crafted for our time.... But [its insensitivity] had to be dealt with in a way that was heartfelt and not obvious.... In this case, it was with the permission of the heirs. They're terribly pleased with it all."

Plot summary

;Act IWhen the traveling Buffalo Bill's Wild West show visits Cincinnati, Ohio ("Colonel Buffalo Bill"§), Frank Butler, the show's handsome, womanizing star ("I'm a Bad, Bad, Man"§), challenges anyone in town to a shooting match. Foster Wilson, a local hotel owner, doesn't appreciate the Wild West Show taking over his hotel, so Frank gives him a side bet of one hundred dollars on the match. Annie Oakley enters and shoots a bird off Dolly Tate's hat, and then explains her simple backwoods ways to Wilson with the help of her siblings ("Doin' What Comes Natur'lly"). When Wilson learns she's a brilliant shot, he enters her in the shooting match against Frank Butler.

While Annie waits for the match to start, she meets Frank Butler and falls instantly in love with him, not knowing he will be her opponent. When she asks Frank if he likes her, Frank explains that the girl he wants will "wear satin... and smell of cologne" ("The Girl That I Marry"). The rough and naive Annie comically laments that "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun". At the shooting match, Annie finds out that Frank is the "big swollen-headed stiff" from the Wild West Show. She wins the contest, and Buffalo Bill and Charlie Davenport, the show's manager, invite Annie to join the Wild West Show. Annie agrees because she loves Frank even though she has no idea what "show business" is. Frank, Charlie, Buffalo Bill, and everyone explain that "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Over the course of working together, Frank becomes enamoured of the plain-spoken, honest and tomboyish Annie and, as they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota on a train, he explains to her what "love" is ("They Say It's Wonderful"). Buffalo Bill and Charlie find out that the rival show, Pawnee Bill's Far East Show, will be playing in Saint Paul, Minnesota while the Wild West Show plays in nearby Minneapolis. They ask Annie to do a special shooting trick on a motorcycle in Minneapolis to draw Pawnee Bill's business away. Annie agrees, since the trick will surprise Frank, and then sings her siblings to sleep with the "Moonshine Lullaby."

As Annie and Frank prepare for the show, Frank plans to propose to Annie after the show and then ruefully admits that "My Defenses Are Down". When Annie performs her trick and becomes a star, Chief Sitting Bull adopts her into the Sioux tribe ("I'm An Indian Too"§). Frank is hurt and angry, and he walks out on Annie and the show, joining the competing Pawnee Bill's show.

;Act IIThe Buffalo Bill show tours Europe with Annie as the star, but the show goes broke, as does Pawnee Bill's show with Frank. Annie, now well-dressed and more refined and worldly, still longs for Frank ("I Got Lost in His Arms"). Frank and Pawnee Bill plot a merger of the two companies, each assuming the other has the money necessary for the merger. They all meet at a grand reception, where they soon discover both shows are broke. Annie, however, has received sharpshooting medals from all the rulers of Europe worth one hundred thousand dollars, and she decides to sell the medals to finance the merger, rejoicing in the simple things ("I Got the Sun in the Mornin'").

When Frank appears, he and Annie confess their love and decide to marry, although with comically different ideas: Frank wants "some little chapel," while Annie wants "a big church with bridesmaids and flower girls" ("An Old-Fashioned Wedding"°). When Annie shows Frank her medals, Frank again has his pride hurt, and they call off the merger and the wedding. They agree to one last shooting duel ("Anything You Can Do"). Annie deliberately loses to Frank to soothe his ego, and they finally reconcile, deciding to marry and merge the shows.

*This description is based on the 1966 revised book.
*° written for 1966 Revival and included in 1999 Revival; not in the original production
*§ omitted from the 1999 Broadway Revival


*Annie Oakley—a sharpshooter in the Wild West show
*Frank Butler—the Wild West show's star
*Foster Wilson—hotel owner
*Chief Sitting Bull—Sioux warrior; Annie's protector, but used by Pawnee Bill's competing show
*Tommy Keeler—knife-thrower in the Wild West show; Winnie's boyfriend; part Native American
*Charlie Davenport—manager of the Wild West show
*Winnie Tate—Dolly's sister; Tommy's girlfriend and his assistant in the knife-throwing act
*Col. Wm. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) —owner of the Wild West show
*Dolly Tate—Frank's assistant; Winnie's sister
*Pawnee Bill—owner of a competing western show
*Annie's brothers and sisters: Nellie, Jessie, Little Jake and Minnie (Minnie was written out of the 1999 revival [In the 1999 revival, Annie had three siblings rather than four.] )

Musical numbers

Original 1946

("Note: Based on original Broadway production, 1946");Act I
*"Buffalo Bill" — Charlie Davenport, Dolly Tate & Chorus
*"I'm a Bad, Bad Man" — Frank Butler
*"Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" — Annie and her siblings
*"The Girl That I Marry" — Frank and Annie
*"You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" — Annie
*"There's No Business Like Show Business" — Frank, Charlie Davenport, Annie, and ensemble
*"They Say It's Wonderful" — Annie and Frank
*"Moonshine Lullaby" § — Annie and siblings
*"I'll Share It All With You" — Winnie Tate and Tommy Keeler
*"Ballyhoo" — Riding Mistress and Show People
*"There's No Business Like Show Business" (Reprise) — Annie Oakley
*"My Defenses Are Down" — Frank and ensemble
*"Wild Horse Ceremonial Dance" — Wild Horse, Indian Braves and Maidens
*"I'm an Indian, Too" — Annie and ensemble
*Adoption Dance — Annie Oakley, Wild Horse and Braves ;Act II
*"I Got Lost In His Arms" § — Annie
*"Who Do You Love, I Hope" — Winnie Tate and Tommy Keeler
*"I Got the Sun in the Morning" — Annie and ensemble
*"They Say It's Wonderful" (Reprise) — Annie Oakley and Frank Butler
*"The Girl That I Marry" (Reprise) — Frank Butler
*"Anything You Can Do" — Annie and Frank
*"Show Business" (Reprise) — Ensemble;"Notes"

* § omitted from the 1950 film version

*"Let's Go West Again" was written by Berlin for the 1950 film but was not used. However, there are recordings by both Betty Hutton and Judy Garland

1999 Revival

("Note: Based on the 1999 Broadway revival");Act I
*"There's No Business Like Show Business" - Frank and Company
*"Doin' What Comes Natur'lly" — Annie, Kids and Foster Wilson
*"The Girl That I Marry" — Frank and Annie
*"You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" — Annie
*"There's No Business Like Show Business" (Reprise) — Frank, Buffalo Bill, Charlie and Annie
*"I'll Share It All With You" — Tommy, Winnie and Company
*"Moonshine Lullaby" — Annie, Kids, Ensemble Trio
*"There's No Business Like Show Business" (Reprise) — Annie
*"They Say It's Wonderful" — Annie and Frank
*"My Defenses Are Down" — Frank and Young Men
* Finale: "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun (Reprise)" - Annie;Act II
*Entr'acte: The European Tour — Annie and Company
*"I Got Lost In His Arms" — Annie
*"Who Do You Love, I Hope" — Tommy, Winnie and Company
*"I Got the Sun in the Morning" — Annie and Company
*"An Old-Fashioned Wedding" - Annie and Frank
*"The Girl That I Marry" (Reprise) — Frank
*"Anything You Can Do" — Annie and Frank
*"They Say It's Wonderful" (Reprise) — Annie, Frank and Company

"An Old-Fashioned Wedding" was written by Berlin for the 1966 revival, sung by Annie and Frank, and was also included in the 1999 revival"


Original Broadway (1946) and 1947 productions

"Annie Get Your Gun" was first staged on Broadway at the Imperial Theater on May 16, 1946 and ran for 1,147 performances. It was directed by Joshua Logan, Ethel Merman starred as Annie Oakley, and Ray Middleton played Frank Butler. Foster Wilson was played by Art Barnett, Chief Sitting Bull was Harry Bellaver, Tommy Keeler was Kenneth Bowers, Charlie Davenport was Marty May, and Buffalo Bill Cody was William O'Neal.

The show opened on the West End at the London Coliseum on June 7, 1947 and ran for 1,304 performances. Dolores Gray played Annie with Bill Johnson as Frank.

The first Australian production opened at His Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, on July 19, 1947. It starred Evie Hayes as Annie with Webb Tilton as Frank. Later Australian productions have featured Gloria Dawn, Nancye Hayes, Toni Lamond, Bunny Gibson and Rhonda Burchmore as Annie.

Mary Martin starred as Annie Oakley in a U.S. national tour that started on October 3, 1947 in Dallas, Texas. The touring company also played in Chicago and Los Angeles. Martin left the tour in mid-1948. ["New York Times", October 4, 1947 and April 26, 1948]

1966 Broadway revival

The 1966 Broadway revival starred Ethel Merman reprising her role as "Annie", with Bruce Yarnell as "Frank Butler" and Jerry Orbach as "Charles Davenport". The secondary romance between Tommy Keeler and Winnie Tate was completely eliminated, and "An Old Fasioned Wedding" was added to the second act. It opened first at the Music Theater of Lincoln Center on May 31, 1966 for a limited run through July 9, followed by a short 10-week US tour (Detroit, Washington, and Philadelphia), ["New York Times", Sam Zolotow, July 1, 1966, page 40] and finally transferred to the Broadway Theatre on September 21 for 78 performances.

This production was telecast in an abbreviated ninety-minute version by NBC on March 19, 1967 and is the only musical revived at Lincoln Center during the 1960s to be telecast. [ [ Internet Movie database trivia] ]

1999 Broadway revival

, with an official opening date of March 4, 1999, and closed on September 1, 2001 after 35 previews and 1,046 performances.This revival starred Bernadette Peters as "Annie" and Tom Wopat as "Frank Butler", with direction by Graciela Daniele and choreography by Jeff Calhoun. Peters won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Actress (Musical) and the production won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

This production was structured as a "show-within-a-show", set as a Big Top travelling circus. "Frank Butler" is alone on stage and introduces the main characters, singing "There's No Business Like Show Business", which is reprised when "Annie" agrees to join the traveling Wild West show. The production dropped several songs (including "Colonel Buffalo Bill", "I'm A Bad, Bad Man", and "I'm an Indian Too"), but included "An Old-Fashioned Wedding". There were several major dance numbers added, including a ballroom scene. [Sommer, Elyse and Davidson, Susan. [ "Review:Annie Get Your Gun",] Curtain Up, January 10, 1999 and March 9, 1999] A sub-plot, which had been dropped from the 1966 revival, involving the romance between Winnie, the young sister of Frank Butler's assistant and Tommy, her part-Native-American boyfriend was also included, and Winnie is Dolly's sister rather than her daughter. In this version, the final shooting match between Annie and Frank ends in a tie. [Kissel, Howard. [ "Annie’s’ High-Caliber Star Bernadette Peters Is Back On B’way To Get Her ‘Gun’ And Her Guy",] "New York Daily News", February 28, 1999]

;Notable replacementsWhile Peters was on vacation, "All My Children" star Susan Lucci made her Broadway debut as Annie from December 27, 1999 until Jan. 16, 2000. Peters and Wopat left the show on September 2, 2000. Cheryl Ladd took over the lead role on September 6, 2000, with Patrick Cassidy as Frank Butler. Country music superstar Reba McEntire made her Broadway debut in the role from January 26, 2001 to June 22, 2001 opposite Brent Barrett as Frank Butler. [Jones, Kenneth. [ Reba, a New Force of Nature, Blows Out of Annie Get Your Gun June 22",], June 22, 2001]
Crystal Bernard left the national tour on June 23, 2001 to join the Broadway cast. [Jones, Kenneth. [ "Crystal Bernard Wings Her Way Into Bway's Annie Get Your Gun June 23",], June 23, 2001] Nick Jonas, who would later rise to fame playing with brothers (Joe Jonas and Kevin Jonas) in the Jonas Brothers, played as Little Jake in 2001. [ [ Internet Broadway Database listing for 1999 revival, see Replacements] ] [ [ Clubhouse Magazine] ]

;US tourThe US national tour started in Dallas on July 25, 2000 with Marilu Henner as Annie and Rex Smith as Frank. [ [ Article on 2000 tour] ]

Other major productions

Lucie Arnaz starred in a production of the musical in the summer of 1978 at the Jones Beach Theater. This was the first major production of the musical done in the New York area after the 1966 revivial. The Paper Mill Playhouse produced a well-reviewed production in June 1987 starring Judy Kaye as Annie and Richard White as Frank. [ [ "New York Times" article, Alvin Klein, May 31, 1987, "THEATER; A RIP-ROARING 'ANNIE GET YOUR GUN'" Retrieved 04-27-08] ]

In 2004, Marina Prior and Scott Irwin starred in an Australian production of the 1999 Broadway rewrite of the show.

In 2006, the Prince Music Theater, in Philadelphia, PA, revived the 1966 Lincoln Center Theater version, running for one month. This production starred Andrea McArdle (the original Annie of the 1977 Broadway musical "Annie"), Jeffrey Coon as Frank Butler, John Scherer as Charlie Davenport, Chris Councill as Buffalo Bill, Mary Martello as Dolly Tate and Arthur Ryan as Sitting Bull. The production was well received by both critics and audience. The production was directed by Richard M. Parison, Jr. and choreographed by Mercedes Ellington with music direction by Eric Barnes. [ 2006 article on McArdle]

Film and television versions

In 1950, Metro Goldwyn Mayer made a well-received movie version of the musical. Although MGM purchased the rights to the film version with an announced intention of starring legendary singer-actress Judy Garland as Annie, early work on the film was plagued with difficulties, some attributed to Garland. Garland was fired and replaced by the brassier, blonde Betty Hutton.

In 1957, a production starring Mary Martin as Annie and John Raitt as Frank Butler was broadcast on NBC. In 1967, the Lincoln Center production described above, starring Ethel Merman and Bruce Yarnell, was broadcast on NBC.


There are recordings of the Original Broadway (1946) cast, the 1966 revival, and the 1999 Broadway revival. The Original (1946) recording was released on July 8, 1946 by Decca U.S. (ASIN: B00004VVZX). The 1999 revival recording was released on April 20, 1999 by Angel Records (ASIN: B00000ID42). This recording won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Additionally, there is a 1963 studio recording starring Doris Day and Robert Goulet. [ [ Information from] ]

Awards and nominations

*1966 Broadway revival
*Tony Award Best Choreography—Danny Daniels (nominee)
*Tony Award Best Direction of a Musical—Jack Sydow (nominee)

*1999 Broadway revival
*Tony Award Best Revival of a Musical (WINNER)
*Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical—Tom Wopat (nominee)
*Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical—Bernadette Peters (WINNER)
*Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Musical (nominee)
*Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical—Tom Wopat (nominee)
*Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical—Bernadette Peters (WINNER)
*Grammy Award Musical Show Album (WINNER)

*2001 Drama Desk Award Special Award—Reba McEntire (WINNER)
*2001 Theatre World Award—Reba McEntire (WINNER)



* [ Annie Get Your Gun plot summary & character descriptions] from []
* [ The Judy Garland Online Discography "Annie Get Your Gun" pages.]
* [ information from the R&H Theatricals site]
* [ R&H Theatricals, 1999 revival information]
* [ Annie Get Your Gun at nodanw]

External links

* [ Curtain Up reviews from 2/8/01 and 3/9/99]

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