Blog Archives

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