Lyric Stage presented Irving Berlin’s ANNIE GET YOUR GUN in Concert January 22-25, 2015 in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX.
Lyric Stage’s concert performances featured the 38-piece Lyric Stage orchestra under the baton of Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias playing Robert Russell Bennett and Ruth Anderson’s orchestrations. Ann Nieman directed and choreographed the production.
Daron Cockerell, who made quite a splash in her Lyric Stage debut in TOO MANY GIRLS, starred as Annie Oakley. Michael Hewitt made his Lyric Stage debut as Frank Butler. The cast included Andy Baldwin, James Williams, Janelle Lutz, Mark Oristano, Jack Doke, Alexandra Doke, Nicolette Doke, Camryn Wright, Jena Emshoff, Samuel Moran, Jason Bias, Alex Bigus, Tim Brawner, Alexandra Cassens, Noelle Chesney, Sarah Comley Caldwell, Andrea Cox, Parker Fitzgerald, Doug Fowler, Alex Heika, Preston Isham, Jerimiah Johnson, Hunter Lewis, Michael McMillan, Michael Scott McNay, Lucy Shea, Sally Soldo and Rachel Starkey.
Dorothy Fields had the idea to write a musical about sharp shooter Annie Oakley to star her friend Ethel Merman. After their incredible success as writers with their first musical OKLAHOMA!, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II decided they would also produce. Fields asked the pair to produce ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Rodgers and Hammerstein engaged Jerome Kern to compose the score, Dorothy Fields to write the lyrics and Dorothy and her brother Herbert to write the book.
Just before he was to start work on ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Jerome Kern suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died. The producers and lyricist Dorothy Fields then asked Irving Berlin to write the score. Knowing that Berlin wrote both music and lyrics, Fields said she would step aside as lyricist and just write the book with her brother Herbert. Berlin did not think he would be able to write songs to fit specific scenes and characters in a book musical, but after a few days with the script, Berlin returned to the producers with “Doin’ What Comes Naturally,” “You Can’t Get a Man With a Gun” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” Irving Berlin went on to write one of the American musical theater’s greatest scores. Ironically, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” was almost left out of the show. Irving Berlin mistakenly thought Richard Rodgers did not like the song. Rodgers assured Berlin that he did like it and the rest is theater history.
Performances of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN in concert were January 22, 23 & 24 @ 8:00 PM and January 24 & 25 @ 2:30 PM. Saturday, January 24 @ 2:30 PM was an added performance.