Urgent message for cast and crew.
17th March 2020

On Monday evening the WAOS Committee met, mainly to discuss our response to the rapidly-changing threat from coronavirus. Our primary aim is to keep our members, friends and volunteers safe and we quickly concluded that "social distancing" was totally incompatible with running rehearsals and putting on a show. Just before our meeting the UK government announced that "everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres" and at the end of our meeting Witham Public Hall Trust announced that they were "having to suspend shows for a while" in the first instance until the end of April.

You will not be surprised therefore that WAOS has suspended rehearsals for the foreseeable future and are exploring the possibility of postponing Annie Get Your Gun until our regular October show date (26-31 October). This is not as simple as you might think, requiring renegotiation of the rights for not just one but the next three shows, ensuring availability of contracted directors and musical directors, as well as being certain that our wonderful cast can still commit to Annie Get Your Gun later in the year and an intensive rehearsal schedule from September until show week. All of this is subject to government advice on when we can return to a normal way of life.

In the meantime we have cancelled both the Barn Dance, which was scheduled for 28th March, and the AGM, which was scheduled for Monday March 23. In a separate email I will send you the information you would have received at the AGM - last year's minutes including WAOS and WOW Chairmans' reports, this year's Chairmans' reports, the Treasurer's report and the accounts for 2019 (which have been inspected by our auditor). We will endeavour to reschedule an AGM when the government advice allows, or failing that find an online solution. We have to have achieved all of this before our submission of accounts and Trustee Report to the Charity Commission before the end of October.

Whatever happens to the timing of Annie Get Your Gun and any negative financial consequences that may result from postponement, rest assured that WAOS is financially secure and well able to survive it. Our goal is to get back on track as soon we are allowed and we hope we can count on your loyalty and support through these difficult times. Please keep track of the WAOS website and Facebook group page - we may have some surprises for you during our enforced temporary retirement.

Refunds, for customers who have purchased tickets for the cancelled performances, will be organised as soon as possible

Please contact me directly at chairman@waos.org or call 0777 5672547 if you have any questions.

Annie GYG Basic

Rough-and-tumble Annie Oakley is the best shot around. A backwoods gal, Annie uses her skill to support her family by selling the game she hunts. When she’s discovered by Buffalo Bill and persuaded to join his Wild West Show, Annie is plucked from obscurity and becomes the toast of Europe - and along the way meets her match in Frank Butler, Bills leading man and star marksman.

‘Annie Get Your Gun’ follows the journey of Annie and Frank, revealing their competitive natures as they vie for best shot - and each other’s hearts! This brilliant family musical, based on a true tale, is laced with an abundance of humour, toe-tapping company dance numbers and one hit song after another, such as ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, ‘Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better’, and ‘They Say It’s Wonderful’. With numerous fabulous character roles and impressive choreography for the company of show dancers, cowboys, Indians and socialites, this is spectacle of ‘showbusiness’ not to be missed!

'Annie Get Your Gun' scored a bull’s-eye when it returned to Broadway in 1999, starring Bernadette Peters and sporting a revised libretto by Tony, Oscar and Emmy winner, Peter Stone. As Newsday reported, Stone's revisions 'are sweetly ingenious, and the show is a dream.' Stone reshaped the 1946 book to create a Wild West show-within-a-show that frames the ageless 'Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better' love story of sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. Stone has added a secondary romance between the younger sister of Frank's bothersome assistant Dolly, and a boy who is (to Dolly's horror) part Native American. 'The book has been updated in ways that pass p.c. muster,' reported Time Magazine, 'without losing all the fun.' Joined to the new book, of course, is that amazing Irving Berlin score, featuring hit after hit after hit. 'Irving Berlin's greatest achievement in the theater,' wrote the New York Post, 'Annie Get Your Gun' will always be a musical for the ages, one of the Broadway theater's enduring triumphs.'