Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat put away their rifles the evening of Sept. 2, their last night playing in Broadway's Tony Award-winning revival of Annie Get Your Gun.
Peters, who won a Tony Award for the title role of Annie Oakley in the classic Irving Berlin musical, and Wopat, who may be best known for TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard," began rehearsals for the Fran and Barry Weissler-produced show in November 1998. Peters won a Tony for her performance of the bumpkin with an eagle eye and a trigger finger -- to say nothing of a belter's voice. Wopat was nommed for a Best Actor (Musical) Tony.
Audiences at the Marquis ate up the couple's frisky, playful quality, particularly during their free-wheeling, winking "Old Fashioned Wedding" counterpoint duet, which often seemed like it was improvised as it went along.
The Broadway cast now has a changeover and several days of rehearsals to allow time for Cheryl Ladd and Patrick Cassidy to take over the lead roles. They begin Sept. 6, at the matinee. The Marquis is dark Sept. 3-5.
Wopat will join Marilu Henner and the touring company in October. Rex Smith is the current Frank Butler on tour. Peters jumps into concert appearances throughout the country. Graciela Daniele staged Annie Get Your Gun and co-choreographed it with Jeff Calhoun. The book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields was altered by Peter Stone to erase any offensive references to Native Americans.
Former "Charlie's Angels" star Ladd will be the next Annie Oakley in Broadway's Gun, it was announced Aug. 10.
Ladd will stay with the show through Jan. 28, 2001. The open secret on Broadway is that Reba McEntire may be stepping into the role next, but there has been no official announcement.
Co-star Patrick Cassidy is the son of Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, and appeared in the world premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins.
Cheryl Ladd Russell (her current married name) was born Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor in Huron, SD. Her first singing break came when she sang backup for the cartoon, "Josie and the Pussycats." She had settled in Los Angels after a band she sang for broke up there.
Commercials and the film "Jamaica Reef" followed and she married David Ladd in 1973. They had a daughter, Jordan, in 1975, and by 1977 Ladd was one of the sexy private detectives dispatched on improbable assignments by a mysterious millionaire in the Aaron Spelling TV series "Charlie's Angels." She played Kris Munroe in the series that ended in 1981.
Ladd did release a couple of albums, "Cheryl Ladd" (1978) and "Dance Forever" (1979), but until now has not played Broadway.
She is now married to Brian Russell, who created a series of children's books with her. Ladd has appeared in more than 50 films, series or TV movies, including "Every Mother's Worst Fear" (co-starring with her daughter), "A Dog in Flanders,""Grace Kelly," "Perfect Little Angels," "Jesse" and "Permanent Midnight."