Annie Get Your Gun opens at Grove Theater Oct. 29

From press release

MT. MORRIS, Ill.—The Performing Arts Guild (PAG) will present the Irving Berlin musical Annie Get Your Gun Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 5-7 at the Grove Theater in Mt. Morris, Ill.

The characters portrayed in this revival show include the historical characters of Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show was truly an iconic exhibition that developed the concept of the “Wild West” to thousands of people in the United States and throughout Europe and Russia. And the link to this region is duly recorded!

According to Jeff Lovett of the Lee County Historical Society, the Wild West Show stopped in Dixon twice during the 30-plus-year run of performances around the world, first in 1896 and again in 1901.

The train stopped in the former railroad tracks located near the current National Guard Armory in Dixon, Ill. It carried the performers including Annie Oakley, her husband, various actors as well as authentic cowboys and Native Americans who lived the Western lifestyle thus performed. Additionally, it carried sets, a herd of buffalo, horses, antelope and various animals of the Western territories.

The exhibition was presented in the area known at that time as Pleasure Park, which is today the location of the Dixon High School and athletic field. It is recorded that in 1896 the afternoon performance drew more than 11,000 people while the evening performance saw an additional 8,000 attendees.

PAG’s production includes cast member John Chase as Buffalo Bill, who also has noted that William C. Cody (Buffalo Bill) was born just across the Illinois border in LeClaire, Iowa. John has also reflected the following in bringing the historical figure to life on the stage: “Buffalo Bill revealed to the world a concept of the Wild West and brought with him the real-life relationships of Sitting Bull and others who lived this out in the exhibition every day. It is a feeling of loss to know he was so close in proximity but far away in time, over 90 years, as I was in love with the story of the West since childhood. The joy of discovery in who he was and what iconic accomplishments were made possible with his show are what we will bring to the stage and in this performance.”

Show is directed by Mary Lou Garrison with musical direction by Beth Nelson Chase and choreography by Carmen Rongere.

Call (815) 734-2103 for info and tickets.

From the Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010 issue

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