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Way Off Broadway presents Iowa premiere of new ‘Annie Get Your Gun’

Jul 11, 2013

Way Off Broadway, Iowa’s only professional musical theatre company and the residential company at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, presents the Iowa premiere of the new version of “Annie Get Your Gun” recreated for Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire, who both won Tony Awards for their performance.

“Annie Get Your Gun” scored a bull’s-eye when it returned to Broadway in 1999, starring Bernadette Peters and sporting a revised libretto by Tony-, Oscar- and Emmy-winner Peter Stone. As Newsday reported, Stone’s revisions “are sweetly ingenious, and the show is a dream.” Stone reshaped the 1946 book to create a Wild West show-within-a-show that frames the ageless “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” love story of sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Stone added a secondary romance between the younger sister of Frank’s bothersome assistant Dolly, and a boy who is — to Dolly’s horror — part Native American.

“The book has been updated in ways that pass p.c. muster, without losing all the fun,” reported Time Magazine.

Joined to the new book, of course, is the amazing Irving Berlin score, featuring hit after hit.

The New York Post wrote, “Irving Berlin’s greatest achievement in the theater, [‘Annie Get Your Gun’] will always be a musical for the ages, one of the Broadway theater’s enduring triumphs.”

Way Off Broadway has put together a dream cast for this “There’s No Business Like Show Business” musical including Fairfield favorites: Metropolitan Opera star David Mails as Frank Butler, and Ryan Gaffney and Evan Tyron Martin as Tommie and Buffalo Bill. Jenna Murphy plays Annie Oakley and Jillian Ferry and Miranda West play Dolly and Winnie Tate. Kevin Ray Johnson, fresh from playing the Engineer in “Miss Saigon,” is back as Sitting Bull, LeShawn Bell is Pawnee Bill, and they are all supported by a cast of local talent and the Way Off Broadway summer interns.

“Annie Get Your Gun” is being choreographed by well-known New York dancer/choreographer David Marquez who is making his Way Off Broadway debut with this show working with Chaz Williams Ali as musical director and Randal K. West as director.

“We are thrilled to have a talent the caliber of David Marquez in Fairfield to bring his vision to our ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’” said West. “He is a much sought after choreographer by theatre companies, dance companies and dance studios including being a reoccurring instructor at the prestige’s Broadway Dance Center.”

“Annie Get Your Gun” plays at 7:30 p.m. July 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and at 2 p.m. July 21 and 28 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

For tickets, call the convention center’s box office at 472-2787 or visit www.FairfieldACC.com.

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