Annie Get Your Gun is a stage musical loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The music and lyrics were written by Irving Berlin with a book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields. Berlin had taken on the job after the original choice, Jerome Kern, collapsed and died suddenly. It is said that the showstopper song, "There's No Business Like Show Business", was almost left out of the show altogether because Berlin, wrongly, got the impression that his sponsors, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, did not like it.
Annie Get Your Gun was first staged at the Imperial Theater on Broadway on May 16, 1946 and ran for 1147 performances. It was directed by Joshua Logan. Ethel Merman starred as Annie in the original production, with Ray Middleton in the leading male role as Frank Butler.
The show opened at the Coliseum on June 7, 1947 and ran for 1304 performances. Dolores Gray played Annie with Bill Johnson as Butler.
The show opened at His Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne on July 19, 1947. It starred Evie Hayes as Annie with Webb Tilton as Frank Butler. Later Australian productions have featured Gloria Dawn, Nancye Hayes, Toni Lamond, Bunny Gibson and Rhonda Burchmore as Annie. In 2004, Marina Prior and Scott Irwin starred in a production of the 1999 rewrite of the show.
1950 MGM film version
In the 1950 Metro Goldwyn Mayer picture directed by George Sidney, Betty Hutton played Annie with Howard Keel in the role of Frank Butler. Originally, Judy Garland had been cast for the title role, but was forced to back out of the production due to poor health and other personal problems that would soon end her career with MGM. According to Betty Hutton, she was treated coldly by most of the cast and crew because she replaced Garland. Only two production numbers were completed with Garland: "Doin' What Comes Naturally" and "I'm an Indian Too" and these were released to the public for the first time in the 1990s in That's Entertainment III Additional studio recordings of Garland also exist and have been released by Rhino Records.
Despite the production problems, the film became popular in its own right, though in 1973 it disappeared from sight due to a dispute between Irving Berlin and MGM over music rights. It was not until the film's 50th Anniversary in 2000 that it was seen again in its entirety.
The 1966 Broadway Revival starred Ethel Merman again, with Bruce Yarnell as Butler. It opened first at the Music Theater of Lincoln Center. It was transferred to the Broadway Theatre on September 21 and ran for 78 performances. It was telecast in an abbreviated ninety-minute version by NBC, in 1967, and is the only musical revived at Lincoln Center during the 1960's to be telecast.
With a reworked book and a new orchestration, the revival debuted on Broadway in early 1999 following a successful pre-Broadway engagement Dec. 29, 1998-Jan. 24, 1999 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Previews began on February 2nd with an official opening date of March 4th at the Marquis Theatre. The original Broadway cast included Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat. Peters won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Actress (Musical) and the production won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Revival (Musical).
Cheryl Ladd took over the lead role on September 6, 2000 from Peters. All My Children star Susan Lucci made her Broadway debut as Annie from December 27, 1999 until Jan. 16, 2000. Peters returned to the role January 18, 2000. Country music superstar Reba McEntire made her splash Broadway debut in the role from January 26, 2001 to June 22, 2001. Crystal Bernard left the national tour on June 23, 2001 to join the Broadway cast with tickets selling at the 70 percent of capacity range through most of the summer. The revival closed by September 1, 2001 after 35 previews and 1,046 regular performances.
There is also a 1963 studio recording starring Doris Day and Robert Goulet. Other stage Annies include Heidi Brühl and Marilu Henner.