|Ethel Merman as "Annie"|
Starring Ethel Merman as Annie and Ray Middleton as Frank Butler, her love interest and rival, the show was directed by Joshua Logan. Merman would play Annie for the entire almost three year run of the show, only missing two performances in addition to two vacations she took.
The show is a fictionalized version of the early life of Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter from Ohio and how she became famous by entering a shooting match with Frank Butler. Now Butler was someone who toured the country with his act and when a $100 bet was placed in 1881 that Butler could beat any local to a shooting contest, Oakley entered and she won when Butler missed on his 25th shot. Soon after the two of them began a relationship and married. And while the musical fictionalizes their story it does show how they met at the shooting match and how they both became famous with their inclusion in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Though the rivalry between the two of them that exists throughout the show is something that I have to believe was fabricated for the musical, but the world tour that Annie makes in the show did actually happen.
|Poster for the real Annie Oakley|
Twenty years later, Merman returned as Annie in the Broadway revival that made some changes to the book and score and added one new song, "An Old Fashioned Wedding.". This production was humorously referred to as "Granny Get Your Gun" due to Merman being almost 60 years old.
The U.S. Tour of the show starred Mary Martin as Annie and started in Dallas, Texas on October 3, 1947. Ten years later she would star in a tv movie version of the show.
A 1950 feature film was made that starred Betty Hutton as Annie. It was originally planned to star Judy Garland, and Garland even had recorded the songs as well as filmed several scenes before she was fired. Garland's recording of the score does exist and she makes a really good Annie.
This show, just like Anything Goes, is one that will get revived for centuries to come as it has a witty book, great characters and an amazing score.
Amazon link for the original Broadway Cast recording cd - Annie Get Your Gun (1946 Original Broadway Cast)
Amazon link for the MP3 of the 1966 Broadway revival cast recording - Annie Get Your Gun
Amazon link for MP3 download of the 1999 Broadway revival cd Annie Get Your Gun - The New Broadway Cast Recording (Staring Bernadette Peters)
Amazon link for the cd of the 1999 revival - Annie Get Your Gun (1999 Broadway Revival Cast)
Amazon link for the dvd of the 1950 movie - Annie Get Your Gun
Merman sings "There's No Business Like Show Business" with the Boston Pops -
Reba McEntire - "I've Got the Sun in the Morning" -
Mary Martin in the tv version of the show -
Judy Garland highlights from the movie before she was fired -