The Graciela Daniele staging of Annie Get Your Gun has been an audience favorite since March 1999 at Broadway's Marquis Theatre, but who'll be the Annie and Frank after Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat leave Sept. 3?
Only producers Barry and Fran Barry Weissler know for sure, and even they may not know quite yet, but the names bandied about over the past few months have included everyone from Jasmine Guy (once of the Weisslers' smash, Chicago) to Marie Osmond (who appeared in a tour of The Sound of Music and was the final Anna in Broadway's recent The King and I).
"Everyone's been talked about," a spokesman for the show told Playbill On-Line July 27, five weeks before Annie Get Your Gun's changeover would happen. He said there is no word yet on casting, but did confirm that Osmond is not part of the casting equation.
It has been an open secret that the Weisslers have courted country diva Reba McEntire for the Broadway staging (she was seen with Fran Weissler at an Annie Get Your Gun performance), but speculation is that McEntire might not step into the role until January. A spokesman would not confirm McEntire.
Speculation in the theatre community has the fall casting focus shifting to the male lead in the famed Irving Berlin tuner, a fictionalized telling of the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her romance with gun-slinger Frank Butler. "Dukes of Hazzard" fans are quick to suggest John Schneider (Grand Hotel) as Wopat's successor. The two starred together in the TV series, and Schneider is no stranger to the musical stage, having appeared in Grand Hotel and national tour of Brigadoon.
In April 1999, another "Annie," Andrea McArdle, the original orphan of 1977's Annie, told Playbill On-Line that after she plays Belle in the longrunning hit, Beauty and the Beast, she'd love to play Annie Oakley.
"I'm hoping Annie Get Your Gun'll be around," she said, full of hope. "That's what I've got my sights on next."