“ANNIE GET YOUR GUN” BRINGS BACK A BIT OF OSWEGO HISTORY

photography by Jessie Dobrynski, graphic design by William Mitchell

When the Oswego Players opens their summer musical “Annie Get Your Gun” in the Frances Marion Brown Theater, a piece of history will have returned to Oswego. You see it was 1895 when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show actually came to town and what an entrance did it make.

According two newspaper articles the time, the Oswego Daily Palladium the other in the Oswego Daily Times, dated August 7th, 1895, the weather caused a major catastrophe opening night. An unexpected thunderstorm with winds up to 30 miles per hour swept across Lake Ontario and onto the Oswego Fairgrounds where the show was to perform. The storm blew down the huge tent causing a near riot among the large crowd gathered underneath. According to both articles, there were no casualties and the show went on in the open air after the storm had passed. Well that was then and this is now and on this visit to our fair city, the show will be inside an intimate 100 seat theater that is well air conditioned; so no one need worry.

The story of Annie Oakley and Frank Butler is a true love story. The two met at a sharp shooting contest in the late 1800’s The pair competed against one another with a prize of $100 at stake. To Frank’s surprise, the little lady next to him won on the 25th round. As the story goes, it wasn’t long before the two started dating and were ultimately married on June 20, 1882. Their partnership and marriage lasted for 50 years.

“Annie Get Your Gun” is a fictionalized version of the life of Annie Oakley and her romance with Frank E. Butler. This updated 1999 version of the original Irving Berlin 1946 Broadway show brings those now famous tunes together in a new and exciting format. And headlining this production are two familiar actors to the Oswego scene.

Derek Potacki, playing Frank, has wowed home town audiences in a number of productions by Theatre DuJour, Oswego’s own interactive theater experience over the past few years. And most recently, Derek graced the FMB stage in the Oswego Player’s production of “Dracula.” Derek tells us he is thrilled to be in this iconic musical with this amazing Director, Matt Fleming, superb Stage Manager, Morgan Fazzio, and especially his leading lady Gina Wentworth.

Derek is a veteran of the entertainment scene, having done short films, television and theater for several years. Derek is the lead vocalist in the 80’s super group Pop Rox and has toured the world as a sports entertainer. Derek does fight/stunt choreography for many productions as well as performing and directing. He was last seen as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors”, Charles in “Blithe Spirit”, and Stacee Jaxx in “Rock of Ages”. Derek can next be seen in something awesome and would like to thank his friends and family who have supported him throughout the years.

Gina Wentworth, playing Annie Oakley, is a longtime performer around Central New York. After taking a brief pause from the stage to pursue a career in nursing, she stepped back into the limelight this year appearing in The Oswego Player’s recent production of Safe Haven as Miriam Leftkowitz. Gina has performed with the all female vocal ensemble known as Concinnity at the Sterling Renaissance Festival and the The Dickens Festival in Skaneateles, New York.

While she has appeared in several operas, plays and musicals over the years, Gina says she especially enjoys teaching music and spreading the joy of performance with young children. Gina is a graduate of Oswego State with a major in Music and Vocal Performance with a minor in Theater. Gina is very excited to be back on the stage and welcomes everyone to come see this very special show.

For more information about the show and to purchase tickets go online at: oswegoplayers.org or call the Box Office at 315-343-5138 to make your reservations now.

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