By Kenneth Jones
23 Jun 2001
Crystal Bernard, a veteran of TV's "Wings" and the national tour of Annie Get Your Gun, will graduate to the Broadway staging of the Irving Berlin musical June 23.
She follows the tough-act of Reba McEntire, the country superstar who reinvigorated the show's box office for six months. McEntire's final show was June 22. Tom Wopat, who originated the role of Frank Butler in this Tony Award-winning revival, returns to Broadway with Bernard (in recent weeks, they appeared in the national tour together). McEntire's Frank, Brent Barrett, exited Annie Get Your Gun June 23, and goes into Chicago July 2.
A Southern accent always slipped into Crystal Bernard's Nantucket waitress character on TV's "Wings," but the actress got to play country girl full-out when she joined the national tour of Annie Get Your Gun, as Annie Oakley, in Atlanta, April 17.
Bernard appeared in TV's "Happy Days" and "It's a Living." She has been singing gospel music since the age of three, when she toured with her father. She sang a hit song, "(I Wanna Take) Forever Tonight," with Peter Cetera, and is a songwriter whose work has been recorded by pop artists such as Paula Abdul, Lisa Stansfield and Tracie Spencer.
Previous Broadway Annies in the current revised Broadway revival (with a book by Peter Stone drawing on the original by Herbert and Dorothy Fields) include Bernadette Peters (who won the Tony for it), Susan Lucci, Cheryl Ladd and country star McEntire (who boosted box office into the 90 percent range over the past few months). Ethel Merman was legendary in the role on stage and Betty Hutton starred in the film. CBS will make a TV movie musical version starring McEntire.
Wopat, once of TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard," and veteran of Broadway musicals, was nominated for a 1999 Tony Award for playing Frank Butler.
The Broadway company includes Larry Storch, Conrad John Schuck, Peter Marx, Gerry Vichi, Kerry O'Malley, Claci Miller and Eric Sciotto.
For ticket information, call (212) 307-4100.