Annie Get Your Gun
Annie Get Your Gun
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin | Book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields
Annie Oakley is the best shot around, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she's discovered by Col. Buffalo Bill, he persuades this novel sharpshooter to join his Wild West Show. It only takes one glance for her to fall head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler, who headlines the show. She soon eclipses Butler as the main attraction which, while good for business, is bad for romance. Butler hightails it off to join a rival show, his bruised male ego leading the way, but is ultimately pitted against Annie in a final shoot-out. The rousing, sure-fire finale hits the mark every time in a testament to the power of female ingenuity.
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News for Annie Get Your Gun

"Siam sur Seine" - "Siam on the Seine."  So did the company of The King and I at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris name themselves during their triumphant reign earlier this summer.  This resplendent production, starring international opera star Susan Graham (alternating with Christine Buffle) and French film star Lambert Wilson, represented the R&H musical's Parisian premiere.   read more
“I’ve got a bottle of Canadian Club in the room.  Come on up and have a drink.” Not exactly words you would automatically think of coming from Peter Pan or Maria von Trapp.  But come they did, from Mary Martin.  She had just received the first Richard Rodgers Award from the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, which had been celebrated at a fantastic garden party in one of Pittsburgh’s posh neighborhoods.  I took a ride back to the hotel with the honoree, and that’s what she said to me as the car pulled up to the William Penn Hotel.  The answer was simple – “Sure.”  So up we went – Mary Martin, her assistant Susan Grushkin, and me.  And out came the Canadian Club.  read more

Trivia for Annie Get Your Gun

The birthday of Dorothy Fields, one of the first popular female songwriters to rise to prominence in America. In addition to her many collaborations with Jerome Kern, Cy Coleman, and brother Herbert Fields, she co-authored the book for Irving Berlin's ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.
The birthday of Herbert Fields, who wrote the book for the musicals ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE.
In 1949, ANNIE DU FAR WEST opened at the Thtre du Chatelet in Paris - a French language production of Irving Berlin's ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.
In 1966, the first Broadway revival of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opened at the Broadway Theatre where it played for 78 performances and recieved two Tony nominations.
In 1999, the Broadway revival of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opened at the Marquis Theatre, where it ran for 1,045 performances and won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.
In 1908, director Joshua Logan was born. He directed and collaborated with Rodgers & Hammerstein on the script for SOUTH PACIFIC, and directed the Broadway premieres of I MARRIED AN ANGEL, BY JUPITER, THIS IS THE ARMY, and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN.
The birthday of Lonny Price, book writer and director of the musical A CLASS ACT. Price has also directed stage concerts of PAL JOEY for Encores, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN at Lincoln Center Theatre, and SWEENEY TODD starring George Hearn and Patti LuPone with the New York Philharmonic.
In 1946 Irving Berlin's musical ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, presented by Rodgers & Hammerstein and starring Ethel Merman, opened at the Imperial Theatre, New York, and ran for 1,147 performances.
In 1947, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opened at the Coliseum Theatre in London.
Did you know? In a 1987 studio cast recording of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, opera stars sang the leads, with Eileen Farrell as the Mother Abbess, and Hkan Hagegrd as the Captain. The role of Maria was sung by Frederica Von Stade (b. 1945) an American opera singer highly lauded for her mezzo-soprano voice, and known for performing The Barber Of Seville, The Merry Widow, Pelleas Et Melisande and . This recording was part of a trend to create ?cross-over? albums featuring opera singers performing traditionally musical theatre roles. SHOW BOAT, SOUTH PACIFIC and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN were among the shows to receive this treatment.

 Press for Annie Get Your Gun

  • Quotes
"A musical for the ages, one of the Broadway theatre's enduring triumphs." — The New York Post, January 01, 1999
"What a wonderful musical Irving Berlin's ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is: the melodies just shake out of it in an endless cascade, and the simple story is unexpectedly involving. We care!" — The New York Post, January 01, 2001
"You can't get a man with a gun...but you can get a surefire audience pleaser by reviving Irving Berlin's best musical." — Houston Chronicle, January 01, 1992
"A rich, romantic story, a melodious score and brilliant lyrics." — New York Journal American
"A rich, romantic story, a melodious score and brilliant lyrics." — New York Journal American, January 01, 1946
"One of the musical theater's finest scores, by Irving Berlin, and a witty, often amusing book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields." — Cooper Robb, Theatermania

Musical Numbers for Annie Get Your Gun

Song #
Song Name
Character Name
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Other Versions



The plot of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN concerns the fabulous career of sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her love for Frank Butler, whom she ousts as the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
 
When they first meet, Butler finds his position as Champion challenged by this young backwoods girl whose shooting prowess is incredible. In a contest with Butler, Annie beats him and at the same time falls hopelessly in love with him. In order to be near him she accepts a job as his assistant in the Wild West Show and her skills are such that after a while Frank decides to make her his partner.
 
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill has discovered that his show is going broke because of competition from Pawnee Bill’s outfit. To bolster the show and recoup his losses, Buffalo Bill and his manager, Charlie Davenport, persuade Annie to do a sensational act which over shadows that of her partner and beloved. Frank leaves the show in a fury and joins Pawnee Bill as his star attraction.
 
Annie is brokenhearted but Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux Warrior tries to console her by adopting her as his daughter and putting up the money to enable the show to continue. The European tour that follows results in a personal triumph for Annie, who returns the United States with many valuable medals. The show, however, is in financial trouble and when Pawnee Bill invites Buffalo Bill’s troupe to a reception welcoming them home when they meet at the party. Pawee Bill’s show is playing Madison Square Garden with apparent success but actually he owes money and he too is anxious to combine the two shows.
 
When Annie and Frank meet again they declare their love for each other and Frank presents Annie with his medals inscribed to “the champion sharpshooter of the world!” Annie cannot accept his superiority and challenges him to a shooting match to decide the title, betting her medals against his. Sitting Bull and Charlie are determined that she shall lose the match – and thus win Frank. They twist the sights on her guns and she misses each shot. Eventually she understands their scheme and, playing for Frank’s sympathy, concedes the match to “Frank Butler! The greatest sharpshooter in the world!” Delighted, Frank is more than willing to offer to take care of Annie, make her his partner again, combine the shows and start them off by selling the medals. Annie is supremely happy, having finally learned how to get a man with a gun!

Annie Oakley Biography

Phoebe Ann Mosey (often misspelled as Mozee or Moses) was born in a log cabin in Darke County, Ohio, in 1860. She fired her first shot at the age of 8 and by age 12 was the chief provider for her large and hungry family. Thanks to her mastery of the rifle and shotgun, she paid off the mortgage on the Mosey homestead through the sale of surplus wild game to a Cincinnati hotel owner.

The fame of this amazing little shooter exploded throughout Ohio and the mid-west when she defeated Frank Butler, vaudeville’s champion marksman and trick shot. Butler not only lost the match, he lost his heart to this shy little shooter. One year later, Frank and Annie were married. Frank felt certain husband and wife teams would face difficulty being booked by agents, and he and Annie decided that she should have a professional name. Annie chose "Oakley," after a kind and generous man who had befriended her in an earlier time of crisis. As Annie Oakley's fame grew, Frank realized his bride was attracting far more attention than he as she stunned audiences with her phenomenal accuracy. He soon brought her to the attention of Nate Salsbury, the genius manager of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Frank withdrew from competition to concentrate on managing Annie’s career.

Touring Europe with the Wild West Show in 1887, Annie twice gave private demonstrations for Queen Victoria, defeated Grand Duke Michael of Russia in a match arranged by the Prince of Wales, and in Berlin shot a cigarette from the lips of Kaiser Wilhelm. After a tragic train accident, Annie retired from the Wild West Show in 1901. She starred in a Broadway play, THE WESTERN GIRL, in 1902 and ’03. She also continued to perform at Charity events—Annie Oakley never refused a Charity request if the beneficiaries were either orphaned girls, deserving young women, or actors.

Annie Oakley’s feats as a sharpshooter are legendary. At thirty paces she shot a dime from between her husband's thumb and forefinger with a .22 rifle and with this weapon could hit two-inch flying balls by sighting them in the shiny surface of a bowie knife. Once she hit 943 out of 1000 flying balls in a rapid fire demonstration and, at the age of 56, using three double-barreled guns, punctured in midair six balls sprung from as many traps. Her prowess was immortalized in the lingo of Broadway when, in the pre-computerized days of hard tickets, complimentary tickets identified by the holes punched in them were called "Annie Oaklies" since they duplicated the holes Annie shot in flying playing cards.

Annie Oakley died in Greenville, Ohio on November 3, 1926. Frank Butler died eighteen days later. They are buried side-by-side in Brock Cemetery, just a few miles from her birthplace.


The musical that celebrates "doin’ what comes natur’lly" began with an idea that was an absolute natural: Ethel Merman as Annie Oakley. Bulls eye.

The idea of doing a musical based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley originated with Dorothy Fields in the mid 1940s, who never considered anyone but her friend Ethel Merman for the lead. (By this time Herbert and Dorothy Fields had co-authored four musicals for Merman, the most recent being SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS in 1943). Merman instantly agreed to take on the show, but when the Fields’ longtime producer Mike Todd turned the project down, they took it to a team of producers who, though novices in the field of producing, knew a thing or two about musicals nevertheless—Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Having scored with two folk American musicals of their own (OKLAHOMA! and CAROUSEL), Rodgers & Hammerstein were all too happy to sign on as producers of what was originally called ANNIE OAKLEY. Hammerstein's longtime partner Jerome Kern was to write the music, Dorothy Fields the lyrics, and Dorothy and Herbert were to co-author the book. Jerome Kern's sudden death in November of 1945 changed everything.

Rather than scuttle plans for ANNIE OAKLEY, Rodgers, Hammerstein and the Fields turned instead towards finding the right team or person to take on the job of writing the score. All four felt unanimously that there was one person absolutely right for the job, but since he wrote words as well as music, Dorothy Fields would have to relinquish her role as lyricist. She had no trouble making her decision—if Irving Berlin would write the score for ANNIE OAKLEY, Dorothy Fields would happily step aside.

Irving Berlin had not written for Broadway since LOUISIANA PURCHASE in 1940, and, fresh from a patriotic three year stint with his revue THIS IS THE ARMY, he was at first skeptical that his unique style was still in fashion. The musical revolution that Rodgers & Hammerstein had fomented with OKLAHOMA! changed the rules, and Berlin wasn’t sure he wanted to play by them. Still, it made sense when Rodgers & Hammerstein suggested that Berlin borrow the script, look at it over the weekend and see if he couldn't come up with a tune or two.

Berlin took their advice and the following Monday morning he came bounding into their office with three completed songs under his arms: "You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun," "Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly," and "There’s No Business Like Show Business." Bulls eye again.

Directed by Joshua Logan, with sets by Jo Mielziner and costumes by Lucinda Ballard, starring Ethel Merman as Annie Oakley and Ray Middleton as Frank Butler, and with a rousing new title, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN opened at the Imperial Theatre, New York, on May 16, 1946. It was a smash success and the critics cheered.

"For verve and buoyancy, unslackening, there has seldom if ever been a show like it," said William Hawkins in the World Telegram. In the Post Vernon Rice declared "Irving Berlin has outdone himself this time. No use trying to pick a hit tune, for all the tunes are hits." Lewis Nichols of the New York Times modestly maintained that "it takes little gift of prophecy to add that [ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and Ethel Merman] will chant their saga of sharp-shooting for many months to come." In fact, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN ran on Broadway for an astounding 1,147 performances. (The first musical after OKLAHOMA! to go over the 1000+ performance plateau, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN was, along with Rodgers & Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA!, SOUTH PACIFIC and THE KING AND I, part of the elite quartet of longest running musicals in Broadway's golden era.)

Dolores Gray starred in the 1947 London production, which ran at the Coliseum for 1,304 performances. Mary Martin headed the U.S. national tour, which began in October of 1947 and travelled for nineteen months; she subsequently played Annie to John Raitt's Ray Butler in a 1957 NBC telecast. MGM released the movie version of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN in 1956; Betty Hutton starred (in a role originally slated for Judy Garland), and Howard Keel played Butler.

In 1966 Ethel Merman re-created her role in a Music Theater of Lincoln Center production, presented by Richard Rodgers. Irving Berlin wrote a new song for this production, "An Old Fashioned Wedding."

In the years since, hundreds of actresses have played Annie Oakley, from Paris (ANNIE DU FAR-WEST) to Berlin (SCHIESS LOS, ANNIE!), from Evi Hayes in Melbourne, Australia to Chiemi Eri in Tokyo, Japan. ANNIE GET YOUR GUN has been seen in Kuala Lumpur, Zimbabewe, Venezuela and throughout Europe. The R&H Theatre Library, which licenses productions of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, estimates that 450 productions are given in the United States every year.

In the 1990s ANNIE GET YOUR GUN kept "doin’ what comes natur’lly" with a sumptuous studio recording from EMI Records, featuring Kim Criswell and Thomas Hampson under the musical direction of John McGlinn; a U.S. national tour starring Cathy Rigby, directed by Susan Schulman, which originated at the Houston Grand Opera in July 1992 and toured throughout the following year; and a U.K. national tour and West End production starring Kim Criswell and John Dierdrich.

At the end of the 20th century Annie Oakley aimed her bullets over Broadway once more, with a Tony winning revival starring Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat. Opening in April 1999, it ran on Broadway for over two and a half years, and spawned a successful national tour. In its second year, country music star Reba McEntire made her Broadway debut in the title role, and took the town by storm.

"Berlin’s greatest achievement in the theater," wrote New York Post critic Clive Barnes about the ’99 revival, "should carry ANNIE GET YOUR GUN happily into the next century and a bit beyond. It will always be a musical for the ages, one of the Broadway theater’s enduring triumphs."


Barrett, Mary Eillin. Irving Berlin: A Daughter’s Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994; (Paperback) Limelight Editions, 1996.

Bordman, Gerald. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, expanded. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy. Rev. Ed. Cranbury, New Jersey: A.S. Barnes, 1968.

Logan, Joshua. Josh: An Autobiography. New York: Delacorte Press, 1976.

Merman, Ethel with George Eells. Merman: An Autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Riley, Glenda. The Life and Legend of Annie Oakley. University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

Rodgers, Richard. Musical Stages: An Autobiography. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995.


Barrett, Mary Eillin. Irving Berlin: A Daughter’s Memoir. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994; (Paperback) Limelight Editions, 1996.

Bordman, Gerald. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, expanded. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy. Rev. Ed. Cranbury, New Jersey: A.S. Barnes, 1968.

Logan, Joshua. Josh: An Autobiography. New York: Delacorte Press, 1976.

Merman, Ethel with George Eells. Merman: An Autobiography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Riley, Glenda. The Life and Legend of Annie Oakley. University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

Rodgers, Richard. Musical Stages: An Autobiography. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995.


Awards for Annie Get Your Gun

Donaldson Awards

3 Awards including Best Score

Vocal Range of Characters:

Photos for Annie Get Your Gun

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Writers Notes for Annie Get Your Gun


Written By: Joshua Logan

"While Irving was completing the score, we held progress meetings in [co-producer Oscar Hammerstein's] living room. At the last of these meetings we discussed Lucinda Ballard's costumes, Helen Tamiris' dances and Ray Middleton, who was to play Annie's true love, Frank Butler. Berlin was talking to a group off on the far side of the room, so I whispered to Oscar, "I'm worried. There ought to be another duet for Merman and Middleton."
"Another song?" whispered Oscar to me.
"Another song?" whispered Berlin, whose head appeared beside Oscar's.
Berlin can smell anything, anywhere, at a distance. He shouted across the room, "Listen, everybody, Josh wants another song. Josh, where do you see this song?"
"I don't know," I said, "except the leads should have a duet in the second act. They never sing together after ["They Say It's] Wonderful.'"
Irving said, "If they're not talking to each other in the second act, how can they sing together?"
"Could they have a quarrel song or a challenge song?" Dick Rodgers asked.
Irving jumped at the idea. "Challenge! Of course! Meeting over! I've got to go home and write a challenge song."
[My wife] Nedda and I took a taxi a few blocks, and when we got to our apartment the phone was ringing. It was Irving.
"Hello, Josh? How's this?" And he started singing:
Anything you can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than you...
...And he carried right on through...
"That's perfect!" I shouted incredulously. ''When in hell did you write that?''
''In the taxicab. I had to, didn't I? We go into rehearsal Monday.'"


Written By: Joshua Logan

"While Irving was completing the score, we held progress meetings in [co-producer Oscar Hammerstein's] living room. At the last of these meetings we discussed Lucinda Ballard's costumes, Helen Tamiris' dances and Ray Middleton, who was to play Annie's true love, Frank Butler. Berlin was talking to a group off on the far side of the room, so I whispered to Oscar, "I'm worried. There ought to be another duet for Merman and Middleton."
"Another song?" whispered Oscar to me.
"Another song?" whispered Berlin, whose head appeared beside Oscar's.
Berlin can smell anything, anywhere, at a distance. He shouted across the room, "Listen, everybody, Josh wants another song. Josh, where do you see this song?"
"I don't know," I said, "except the leads should have a duet in the second act. They never sing together after ["They Say It's] Wonderful.'"
Irving said, "If they're not talking to each other in the second act, how can they sing together?"
"Could they have a quarrel song or a challenge song?" Dick Rodgers asked.
Irving jumped at the idea. "Challenge! Of course! Meeting over! I've got to go home and write a challenge song."
[My wife] Nedda and I took a taxi a few blocks, and when we got to our apartment the phone was ringing. It was Irving.
"Hello, Josh? How's this?" And he started singing:
Anything you can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than you...
...And he carried right on through...
"That's perfect!" I shouted incredulously. ""When in hell did you write that?""
""In the taxicab. I had to, didn't I? We go into rehearsal Monday.""


Written By: Irving Berlin

"Out of the blue [during the Boston tryout of ANNIE GET YOUR GUN] I got a little shaky about "Doin' What Comes Naturally". I often get that way about a song that is going fine, but I thought -- maybe I could improve this one. I worked like a dog. Oscar Hammerstein said, "It's wonderful as it stands; Why don't you leave it alone?" And there's nothing so tough as to give a performer a new lyric so that she had to remember part of the old and part of the new. Anyway, I picked a matinee and gave it to Ethel. Then I went back to her dressing room and there was that lyric, as she was making up, in front of her. And by God, she did it absolutely letter-perfect! The thing was, it didn't go. The audience reaction didn't compare. And we went back to the orginal. Once you change something, the audience tells you. Even if they applaud, they tell you."

Performance Tools for Annie Get Your Gun

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 AccompanEase is now available for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. This new product is a rehearsal tool that allows for unlimited teaching, training and practice of individual vocal parts or dance sequences. Contact Realtime Music Solutions for more information: www.accompanease.com, via email: info@rms.biz, or via phone: 212-620-0774.

Playbill VIP:

MAKE YOUR OWN PLAYBILL! Playbill VIP allows you to create your very own Playbill Program. We have provided Playbill with all of the credits, song listings, musical numbers and more so that most of the work is already done for you. Just add your productions details, photos of the cast and share it with all of your friends. Learn more: www.playbillvip.com


Rental Materials for Annie Get Your Gun

STANDARD

  • ANNIE GET YOUR GUN - Orchestration Package - (20 Books)
    • 1 – Flute I-II (Both Flutes doubling Piccolo)
    • 1 – Piano-Vocal
    • 1 – Oboe (Optional doubling English Horn)
    • 1 – Clarinet I-II (Clarinet II doubling Bass Clarinet)
    • 1 – Bassoon
    • 1 – Horn
    • 1 – Trumpet I-II
    • 1 – Trumpet III
    • 1 – Trombone I
    • 1 – Trombone II
    • 1 – Trombone III (Bass Trombone)
    • 2 – Percussion (see "Materials Notes", under "Production Information")
    • 2 – Violin A-B, C-D (Divisi)
    • 1 – Viola (Divisi)
    • 1 – Cello (Divisi)
    • 1 – Bass
    • 1 – Harp
    • 1 – Guitar
  • ANNIE GET YOUR GUN - Rehearsal Set - (22 Books)
    • 20 – Libretto-Vocal
    • 1 – Logo CD
    • 2 – Piano-Vocal
    • 0 – Digital Logo

ADDITIONAL

  • ANNIE GET YOUR GUN-Libretto-Vocal 10-Pack - 10 Books)
    • 10 – Libretto-Vocal
  • ANNIE GET YOUR GUN - Pre-Production Package - (2 Books)
    • 1 – Libretto-Vocal
    • 1 – Piano-Vocal

Cast Requirements for Annie Get Your Gun

PRINCIPALS
2 Women
5 Men

FEATURED
1 Woman
3 Girls
2 Men
1 Boy

ENSEMBLE
Large singing-dancing ensemble with numerous small roles

CHARACTERS
Little Boy
Little Girl
Charlie Davenport
Dolly Tate
Iron Tail
Yellow Foot
Mac
Foster Wilson
Frank Butler
Annie Oakley
Little Jake - her brother
Nellie - her sister
Jessie - her sister
Minnie - her sister
Colonel William F. Cody a.k.a. Buffalo Bill
Mrs. Little Horse
Mrs. Black Tooth
Mrs. Yellow Foot
Indian Boy
Conductor
Porter
Waiter
Major Gordon Lillie a.k.a. Pawnee Bill
Chief Sitting Bull
Wild Horse
Pawnee's Messenger
Footman
Mr. Schuyler Adams
Mrs. Schuyler Adams
Dr. Percy Ferguson
Mrs. Percy Ferguson
Mr. T.L.C. Keefer
Mr. Ernest Henderson
Mrs. Ernest Henderson
Mrs. Sylvia Potter-Porter
Mr. Clay

Set Requirements for Annie Get Your Gun

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN is set in the 1800's around the Mid-West and in New York City.

SPECIFIC LOCATIONS
The Wilson House
A Pullman Parlor in an Overland Steam Train
The Fair Grounds in Minneapolis
The Arena of the Show Tent
The Deck of a Cattle Boat
The Ballroom of the Hotel Brevoort
A Ferry en route to Governor's Island
Near the Fort on Governor's Island

Materials Notes

Trap Set (Snare Drum, Bass Drum), Timpani, Cymbals, Triangle, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Bells, Temple Blocks, Tambourine, Wood Blocks, Field Drum, Maracas, Tom-Tom

Featured News

Rodgers and Hammerstein Europe 2014
"Siam sur Seine" - "Siam on the Seine."  So did the company of The King and I at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris name themselves during their triumphant reign earlier this summer.  This resplendent production, starring international opera star Susan Graham (alternating with Christine Buffle) and French film star Lambert Wilson, represented the R&H musical's Parisian premiere.   Read More

Media Rights

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