Irving Berlin was born in Byelorussia on May 11, 1888 and immigrated to New York with his family in 1893. In 1907 he published his first song, and by 1911 he had his first major international hit with “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin produced an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century. A sampling of just some of the Irving Berlin standards includes “Blue Skies,” “White Christmas,” “Cheek To Cheek,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” “Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning,” and “Easter Parade.” He wrote 17 complete scores for Broadway musicals and revues, and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring all-Berlin scores were The Cocoanuts, As Thousands Cheer, Call Me Madam and the phenomenally successful Annie Get Your Gun. Among the Hollywood movie musical classics with scores by Irving Berlin are Top Hat, On the Avenue, Holiday Inn, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, White Christmas and There’s No Business Like Show Business. Among his many awards were a special Tony Award (1963) and the Academy Award for Best Song of the Year for “White Christmas” in 1942. Irving Berlin was a co-founder of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and founder of his own music publishing company. An unabashed patriot, his love for - and generosity to - his country is legendary, and through several of his foundations, including The God Bless America Fund, he donated millions of dollars in royalties to Army Emergency Relief, the Boy and Girl Scouts and other organizations. His actions were acknowledged with such accolades as the Army’s Medal of Merit from President Truman in 1945; a Congressional Gold Medal for “God Bless America” and other patriotic songs from President Eisenhower in 1954; and the Freedom Medal from President Ford in 1977. Irving Berlin died on September 22, 1989, at the age of 101.
The brother and sister team of Herbert and Dorothy Fields wrote the books for eight Broadway musicals including Something for the Boys, Let’s Face It! and Mexican Hayride, with scores by Cole Porter; By the Beautiful Sea with music by Arthur Schwartz; Up in Central Park with music by Sigmund Romberg; Arms and the Girl with music by Morton Gould; Redhead with music by Albert Hague; and the classic Annie Get Your Gun with a score by Irving Berlin. Prior to collaborating with his sister, Herbert Fields (1897-1958) wrote seven musicals with Rodgers and Hart and seven with Cole Porter. Among his other collaborators were Vincent Youmans, George and Ira Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg and Arthur Schwartz. In a career spanning more than 45 years, Dorothy Fields (1904-1974) wrote the lyrics to such standards as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “On The Sunny Side Of The Street,” “I’m In The Mood For Love,” “I Won’t Dance,” and “A Fine Romance,” among many others. In addition to Kern, her great collaborating composers included Harold Arlen, Cy Coleman, Morton Gould, Albert Hague, Burton Lane, Oscar Levant, Jimmy McHugh, Arthur Schwartz, Sigmund Romberg and Harry Warren. Her final Broadway scores, written with Coleman, were Sweet Charity and Seesaw.
Valerie Joyce has been performing, directing, or designing on stage at Villanova Theatre for more than 15 years. She directed Cabaret last season at Villanova Theatre. Other directing credits include Tally’s Folly here at Villanova, and The Meat Opera and Up Your Ante for the New York and Philadelphia International Fringe Festivals. Valerie has also worked as a professional costume designer for local and regional productions including Six Story Building (Off Broadway), The Real Thing (Arden Theatre Company), Moon for the Misbegotten (Venture Theatre), True West and Waiting for Godot (Lantern Theatre Company), Billy and Zelda (Opera Delaware), and The Comedy of Errors (Princeton Repertory), as well as many university productions.
Annie Get Your Gun Ends Villanova Theatre’s Season with a Bang!
Villanova Theatre will bring its 2009-2010 season to a close with Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Villanova Professor Valerie Joyce. A cast of 29 will recreate the excitement of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, singing, dancing, and sharp-shooting – all on a rotating circular stage. Annie Get Your Gun will be on stage March 23-28 and April 6-18, 2010.
Villanova Theatre is located in Vasey Hall on the Villanova University campus. Performances will be held at 8:00pm on Tuesday – Saturday and at 2:00pm on Sundays. Tickets cost $20-$24, with discounts available for seniors, students, and groups, and may be ordered through the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu.
Wild West sharpshooter Annie Oakley comes to life in brash, bold colors in this beloved musical. A plucky backwoods gal, Annie’s astonishing shooting skills earn her a spot in Buffalo Bill’s traveling show, and spark a competition with the show’s handsome hotshot, Frank Butler. The two soon fall for each other, but when Annie’s act outshines her beau’s, she discovers that what’s good for business can be bad for romance. Packed with sure-fire Irving Berlin hits, Annie Get Your Gun is a testament to female ingenuity and plain, old-fashioned fun.
Director Valerie Joyce has been performing, directing, and designing on stage at Villanova for more than 15 years. Last season, she directed the tremendously successful Villanova Theatre production of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret. Joyce’s other directing credits include Tally’s Folly, The Meat Opera, and Up Your Ante. She has also worked as a professional costume designer for local and regional productions including Six Story Building (Off Broadway), The Real Thing (Arden Theatre Company), Moon for the Misbegotten (Venture Theatre), True West and Waiting for Godot (Lantern Theatre Company), Billy and Zelda (Opera Delaware), and The Comedy of Errors (Princetown Repertory), as well as many university productions.
The cast of Annie Get Your Gun features second-year graduate student and acting scholar Kathryn M. Lyles as Annie Oakley. Last seen this fall as Celia in As You Like It, Kathryn starred as Sally Bowles in last season’s Cabaret. First-year graduate student and acting scholar Tim Rinehart, last seen as the lovelorn Orlando in As You Like It, will play the role of Frank Butler. The cast of 29 is rounded out by 5 Villanova University undergraduates, 15 graduate students, one alumnus of the Villanova M.A. in theatre program, two guest artists, and 6 children from area elementary schools.
The Villanova University Theatre Department was inaugurated in 1958 under the leadership of Dr. Dick Duprey. Today, Villanova’s Theatre Department offers both a Master of Arts degree and a Graduate Certificate in Practical Theatre. Students enrolled in the theatre program undergo a course of study that combines both scholarly and practical approaches to theatre. Guided by award-winning faculty and staff who are actively involved in the region’s professional theatre industry, students gain knowledge and experience through hands-on production work and in-depth academic study in the areas of dramaturgy, script analysis, dramatic literature, playwriting, acting, and directing.
Annie Get Your Gun will be on stage March 23-28 and April 6-18, 2010. Show times are 8:00pm Tuesday – Saturday and 2:00pm Sunday. Tickets cost $20-$24 (plus handling fees) and may be ordered by calling the Villanova Theatre Box Office at (610) 519-7474 or online at www.theatre.villanova.edu
Frank Butler: Tim Rinehart
Buffalo Bill Cody: Seth G Martin
Dolly Tate: Jennifer Huth
Tommy Keeler: Michael Libonati
Winnie Tate: Mary Lamb
Charlie Davenport: Ben Smallen
Foster Wilson: Andy Shaw
Mac, the Prop Man: Matt Clay
Chief Sitting Bull: David T. Wills
Annie Oakley: Kathryn M. Lyles
Jessie: Brie Weaver
Minnie: Anna Rose Barnett
Nellie: Emily Monaco/Alicia Vitale
Little Jake: James Tedjeske/Peter Vitale
Running Deer/Messenger: Tom Saporito
Eagle Feather: Alex Frangoulis
Pawnee Bill: Will Windsor Erwin
Mrs. Sylvia Potter-Porter: Lizzy Dalton-Negron
Mrs. Schuyler Adams: Cassandra Lovering
* Jessica Bedford
* Amanda Curry
* Danielle DeStefano
* Nick Edelman
* Valerie Eichelberger
* Charles B. Illingworth
* Jacqueline Kelliher
* Emily Poworoznek