Calamity Jane (musical)

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Calamity Jane (A Musical Western) is a musical stage play based loosely on tales from the life of Martha Jane Cannary.

The stage play was adapted in the 1960s from the highly successful 1953 Warner Brothers film Calamity Jane. While some sources indicate that it was premiered at the Municipal Theatre in St. Louis in 1961,[1] playbills for a production at Casa Mañana in Fort Worth pre-date it by a few short weeks.[2]

Credits[edit]

Adapted by Ronald Hanmer and Phil Park

From the stage play by Charles K. Freeman

After the Warner Brothers film, written by James O'Hanlon

Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

Music by Sammy Fain [3]

Synopsis[edit]

Deadwood City's two most famous peace officers, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock, get involved in saving the neck of Henry Miller, the local saloon operator. It seems that "Millie" has been promoting a beautiful actress named Frances Fryer, but Frances turns out to be a boy, Francis. Millie's attempt to cover up is soon unmasked by the angry miners, and only Calamity can cool the crowd with her trusty pistols. To keep the peace, Calamity sets out for Chicago to bring back the miner's real heart-throb, Adelaide Adams. In Chicago Calamity mistakes Adelaide's maid, Katie Brown, for the actress and hauls her back to Deadwood. Onstage Katie is greeted warmly, but breaks down and confesses that she is not the famous star. Calamity once more has to restore order and persuades the audience to give Katie a chance. They do, and she wins the heart of every male in town including Calamity's dashing love hope, Lt. Danny Gilmartin. Calamity reluctantly overcomes her jealousy over losing Danny and discovers her true love for Wild Bill.

Musical numbers[edit]

Act I:

Act II:

Songs specifically added for the stage musical are denoted with *

Production history[edit]

There have been numerous stagings of the show, including British productions in 1979 with Barbara Windsor,[4] in the 1990s with Louise Gold in Haymarket[5] and in 2003 on a UK tour with Toyah Willcox.[6]

Instrumentation[edit]

The show calls for: Reed I (alto saxophone, clarinet), Reed II (alto saxophone, clarinet), Reed III (tenor saxophone, flute), Reed IV (tenor saxophone, clarinet), horn, three trumpets, two trombones, percussion, guitar, piano and strings.[7]

Recordings[edit]

There is a complete recording of the entire score available made by JAY Records. It includes Debbie Shapiro as Calamity Jane with Jason Howard, Tim Flavin and Susannah Fellows.[8] There is also an earlier recording from the original film, sung by Doris Day and Howard Keel and released by Columbia Records.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Vocal score: Calamity Jane (Operetta in Two Acts) Amateur Operatic Version Warner Chappell Music Ltd (Copyright 2006 by Faber Music Ltd ISBN 0-57152792-2)
  • Libretto: Calamity Jane A Musical Western adapted by Ronald Hanmer & Phil Park from the stage play by Charles K. Freeman after the Warner Bros Film written by James O'Hanlon. Licensed to Josef Weinberger Ltd, London, by arrangement with Tams-Witmark Music Library NYC. (Copyright 1962 by Tams-Witmark Music Library, New York. ISBN 979-0-57005-498-5)