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Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Annie Get Your Gun

There’s no business like show business

Like no business I know

Everything about it is appealing

Everything the traffic will allow

Nowhere can you get that happy feeling

When you are stealing that extra bow

Welcome to the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Production of Annie Get Your Gun and our historic 59th season. Irving Berlin couldn’t have said it any better. Community theatre can take us to a place like no other. Since joining WCT first as a performer and now also as a Board Director, I relish in the opportunity to share this wonderful theatre and its efforts with you. The commitment of our staff, board, performers, volunteers, and crews to put on quality productions is beyond compare. I am honored to be a part of it. But we wouldn’t be able to do what we do if we didn’t have you, the patrons, sitting in these seats and supporting us. For your attendance, and your support, I am truly grateful.

Since its debut in 1946, Annie Get Your Gun has masterfully maintained its popularity. With hits like “You Can’t Get a Man With A Gun” and “Anything You Can Do,” you are sure to leave the show smiling and humming a tune. And if you are so inclined, please help spread the word and encourage others to attend! We rely on your word of mouth and your help—you are our best marketing tool! Take advantage of the many opportunities available to you to support our theatre, including donations, and volunteering! Enjoy this amazing production!

Bagley Elizabeth 2014Elizabeth Bagley

Board Director


Fun Historical Facts & Timeline

1831 – Sitting Bull is born (estimate) Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, in Jumping Badger, Dakota Territory.

1846 – William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) is born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, 2/26/1846.

1847 – Francis E. Butler is born in County Longford, Ireland, 1/30/1847.

1860 – Gordon William Lillie (Pawnee Bill) is born in Bloomington, IL 2/14/1860.

1860 – Phoebe Ann Mosey (Annie Oakley) is born near Woodland, Ohio, 8/13/1860, the sixth of nine children.

1865 – Annie’s father dies.

1870 – Frank marries Henrietta Saunders.

1875 – Annie and Frank meet. She is 15 and he is 28.

1876 – Annie (age 16) and Frank (age 29) are married on August 23rd. Sitting Bull defeats Custer at Little Big Horn (age 45). Frank divorces Henrietta (though the divorce may not have been final until after Annie and Frank were married).

1883 – Buffalo Bill creates his Wild West Show (age 37). Pawnee Bill works for him (age 23).

1884 – Annie (age 24) and Sitting Bull (age 53) meet, and he “ceremonially” adopts her. He gives her the nicknames “Little Sure Shot” and “Watanya Cecilia.”

1885 – Annie, Frank, and Sitting Bull join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. (Annie is 25, Frank is 38, Sitting Bull is 54, and Buffalo Bill is 39). Sitting Bull leaves the show after four months.

1887 – Buffalo Bill begins touring Europe (eight different tours between 1887 and 1906). Annie and Frank leave the show.

1888 – Pawnee Bill (age 28) creates his Wild West Show.

1889 – Annie and Frank rejoin Buffalo Bill’s show.

1890 – Sitting Bull dies (age 59).

1901 – Annie (age 41) and Frank (age 54) leave Buffalo Bill’s show.

1908 – Buffalo Bill (age 62) and Pawnee Bill (age 48) combine their shows.

1917 – Buffalo Bill dies (age 71), 1/10/1917.

1926 – Annie dies (age 66), and Frank dies 18 days later (age 79), 11/3 and 11/21/1926.

1942 – Pawnee Bill dies (age 82) 2/3/1942.

Come see this amazing and inspirational story come to life on the WCT stage! Based on the true story of Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, Colonel William F. Cody, Sitting Bull, and Major Gordon W. Lillie, and featuring one of the best musical scores ever written by one of the greatest American composers, it truly is a masterpiece. Call our box office (262-547-0708) or get your tickets here:

Director’s Note & MAD Corner: Annie Get Your Gun

Annie Get your Gun tbt

My very first community theatre show was Annie Get Your Gun in 1976 when I was 13 years old, and now I am directing it in 2016 for the community theatre that I have been leading for 13 years. Talk about full circle! I know I say it about every musical I direct, but this really is one of my favorite shows, if not my all-time favorite! In addition to being my first community theatre show, it was one of the first shows that I directed when I was fresh out of college in 1986, and my wife played Annie in Drury Lane Oakbrook’s production in 1996, winning a Joseph Jefferson Award for her performance. Kelli and I performed “Anything You Can Do” at the WCT Gala in 2006, and now our daughter is playing Annie in 2016 – one more full circle moment? Maybe. Maybe.

Based on the amazing and inspirational true story of Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, Colonel William F. Cody, Sitting Bull, and Major Gordon W. Lillie, and featuring one of the best musical scores ever written by one of the greatest American composers, it truly is a masterpiece. I’m a history buff, and I thoroughly research every show I direct. As I reacquainted myself with Annie’s story, I fell in love with her all over again. She was an amazing woman, and way ahead of her time.

The creators of the show did take quite a few liberties with the facts … this is afterall musical comedy! The show takes place over a span of ten months, and a lot of the story is based on actual facts, but the truth is that most of what you see in the show actually took place over a span of decades. Annie and Frank didn’t actually meet Buffalo Bill until 1885, ten years after they met in 1875. When they met each other Bill was 29, Sitting Bull was 44, and Pawnee Bill was 15. In 1885 when Annie and Frank joined Buffalo Bill’s show Annie was 25, Frank was 38, Buffalo Bill was 39, Sitting Bull was 54, and Pawnee Bill was 25. When Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill merged their shows Buffalo Bill was 62 and Pawnee Bill was 48. Annie and Frank were no longer with Buffalo Bill’s show, having left it seven years earlier. In the program I’ve included a timeline of some prominent moments in her lifetime.

I can’t thank the cast, crew, and staff enough for all of their hard work, focus, patience, creativity, and humor. We have had a marvelous time putting this incredible show together and I hope each and every one of you enjoys it as much as we have.

Our Spotlight On The Future is still active, and still needs your help! So far we have raised 45% of our $750,000 goal and have already put these donations to good use, implementing upgrades that enhance the theatre experience, increasing advertising revenue, decreasing operating expenses, and providing for building maintenance. Current improvements include a new HVAC unit, our new lighting catwalk, our new retractable movie screen and projector, a new sound board for the Mainstage, and new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a gift! If you have already given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and treasure that you give to WCT. Keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Director / Choreographer

Managing Artistic Director

The Anatomy Of A Film Series

By Katherine Simon

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 2015-2016 season saw some exciting new additions to the calendar, including the PIX Flix Movie Series, our very own season-long film series that’s bringing the Silver Screen back to the PIX. Over the course of the season, we bring you 12 different movies, each with their own unique connection to the live productions and events taking place here at the PIX.

As this was WCT’s first time doing something like this, I quickly realized the first thing I would need were some guidelines. For this and the coming season, I have operated under four relatively loose restrictions:

  • To include as many people as possible in this exciting new endeavor, the movies would not be rated anything higher than PG.
  • The films would somehow compliment the live offerings of the theatre at the time of the screening.
  • Whenever possible, the movies would not exceed two hours in length (there are a few, rare exceptions, of course).
  • The series itself would be a mix of movies from across decades and genres.

Some choices were easy, like the very first movie of the season. I knew our first should be a first, and, as Toy Story was turning 20, it seemed only logical, to my mind, to choose the first feature length, computer animated film as our first offering.

During the parts of the calendar when we don’t have a show running, we always offer Academy at Civic Theatre sessions. As such, I wanted to program movies for the whole family. Finding Nemo helped round out the summer, and Happy Feet accompanies the frigid January temperatures.

For the bulk of the calendar, though, I tried to choose movies that would augment the shows being produced at the time. Some are obvious choices, like the pairing of Leading Ladies and Some Like It Hot in March, or Cinderella’s Fella and Enchanted in April. Some are less so and rely on thematic ties, like September’s pairing of An American In Paris and A Little Night Music, which shared the interplay of social and economic classes in a European setting. Or the varied perspectives on love brought to the stage and screen by Almost, Maine and Breakfast At Tiffany’s in February. Some not only matched the mainstage shows, but also the time of year, like Hocus Pocus (October) and Elf (December).

Most of the films also match their respective live theatre pairings in genre. The Turn Of The Screw and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane chilled us in November. May will find us tapping our toes to musicals loosely based on real people and events with The Harvey Girls and Annie Get Your Gun. In June, we’ll finish the season laughing at the British farce of The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Fawlty Towers.

Covering genres ranging from thriller to musical to comedy and 61 years of film history, the PIX Flix Movie Series seeks to enhance your Waukesha Civic Theatre experience by bringing movies back to the PIX. Movies are screened one Monday a month at 6:30 pm and tickets are only $5. See you at the Theatre!