Performed at the CAL Center Auditorium
Music & Lyrics by IRVING BERLIN
Original Book by HERBERT & DOROTHY FIELDS
As revised by PETER STONE
Produced by The Reedsburg Players
When the traveling Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show visits Cincinnati, Ohio, Frank Butler, the show’s handsome, womanizing star, challenges anyone in town to a shooting match. Annie Oakley enters the scene and shoots a bird off Dolly Tate’s hat. When Foster Wilson, a local hotel owner, 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. At the shooting match, Annie finds out that Frank is the “big swollenheaded stiff” from the Wild West Show. She wins the contest, and Buffalo Bill and Charlie Davenport invite Annie to join the Wild West Show. Annie agrees because she loves Frank. As they work together, Frank becomes enamored of the plain-spoken, honest, tomboyish Annie and, as they travel to Minneapolis, MN on a train, he explains to her what “love” is. Buffalo Bill and Charlie discover that the rival show, Pawnee Bill’s Far East Show, will be playing in Saint Paul, MN while the Wild West Show plays in near-by Minneapolis. They ask Annie to do a special shooting trick to draw Pawnee Bill’s business away. Annie agrees because the trick will surprise Frank. 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. Hurt and angry, Frank walks out on Annie and the show, joining the compet-ing Pawnee Bill’s show.
Act II. The 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. Buffalo Bill 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. When Frank appears, he and Annie confess their love and decide to marry. 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. Annie deliberately loses to Frank to soothe his ego, and they finally reconcile, deciding to marry and merge the shows.