George Hearn will join the previously announced Patti Lupone and Brian Stokes Mitchell for the Ravinia Festival’s concert production of Annie Get Your Gun in August this year. Hearn will play the role of Buffalo Bill Cody, with LuPone playing Annie Oakley opposite Mitchell as Frank Butler.
Lonny Price will direct the classic Irving Berlin musical. The Ravinia website says that the book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields will be used for the concert stagings rather than the Peter Stone revisal from the 1999 Broadway production starring Bernadette Peters. The concert celebrates the 150th anniversary of Annie Oakley’s birth.
Since the announcement of LuPone’s participation in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, there have been whispers in the wings about whether the esteemed Broadway diva is pushing the envelope age-wise. In the 1966 revival, Ethel Merman was 58 and that was a full scale production. LuPone will be 61 when she plays the role in a staged concert. I guess we could debate whether it matters as much, though I suppose it’s not ideal and certainly wouldn’t be if this led to a full scale revival of the show. However, that seems unlikely as LuPone is hoping for a West End production of Gypsy.