The western town Deadwood is “looked after” by Wild Bill Hickock (Peter Gosik) and uber-tom girl Calamity Jane (Kristin Wetherington), loosely best friends. (Think Annie Oakley without the wild west show.) Saloon owner, Henry Miller, “Millie” (Brandon Grimes) publicizes actress Francis Fryer (Jordan Bell) but she turns out to be a he. When the poor man is forced to perform in drag, nobody’s fooled. About to get back on the stagecoach, he connects with Millie’s niece Susan (Alexis Kinney) who, surprise! can dance and sing.
Jordan Bell and Alexis Kinney
Defending Millie against an angry audience, Jane, no stranger to tall tales, brags she can go to Chicago and bring back Adelaide Adams (Emily Larger), the only actress whose name she knows – from photos in cigarette packs. In Adams’ backstage dressing room she mistakes Adelaide’s maid, Katie Brown (Rosalie Burke), for the star. The young woman seizes her chance, “becomes” Adelaide, and ends up staying with Jane…making her rough cabin over into something that shows “A Woman’s Touch.” On the occasion of a Ball, Katie also makes Jane over – to her best female advantage and everyone’s astonishment.
Dallas Padoven, Bart Mather, Peter Gosik (Wild Bill Hickock) Christian Brown, Sam Beasley
The two are close until Army Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin (Jimmy Nicholas) with whom Jane is secretly smitten falls in love with Katie. We all know Jane will end up with Hickock, but not before Katie is romanced, found out, turned upon, forgiven and accepted.
Standouts in this cast:
Kristin Wetherington makes a terrific Calamity. She’s expressive, sings extremely well, and embraces just the right proud, pugnacious, rough-and-tumble demeanor, even moving boyishly. The actor is credible, entertaining and sympathetic. A bright presence. Casting agents alert.
Jordan Bell and Alexis Kinney
Peter Gosik (Wild Bill) has a rich, warm, beautifully controlled baritone and the masculine presence of a sure leading man. That he also conveys amusement with and affection for Jane (before her transformation) is a testament to nuanced abilities.
Alexis Kinney’s Susan is cute without becoming saccharine. A pleasure to watch. Brandon Grimes (Millie) barely gets to sing, but when he does, one hears talent.
Director/Choreographer Devin Vogel does better with groups than solos. Ensemble numbers are lively and well executed. Musical Director/Vocal Arranger Nevada Lozano offers appealing arrangements and some spiffy harmony. Costumes and Wigs are unflattering and predominantly wrong for period. (Hope Salvan)
Alison McCartan, Jimmy Nicholas (Danny); Dallas Padoven, Rosalie Burke (Katie), Christian Brown, Kristin Wetherington (Calamity Jane), Sam Beasley, Peter Gosik (Wild Bill Hickock), Caitlin Evans Jordan Bell (Francis Fryer), Abby Hart (Ensemble)
Based on the 1953 Doris Day film, Calamity Jane opened in Texas continuing to play regionally from 1961, never coming to Broadway. Six songs from the musical not heard in the movie are included in this production.
Also Featuring: Sam Beasley, Christian Brown, Caitlin Evans, Abby Hart, Brian Klimowski, Bart Mather, Alison McCartan, Dallas Padoven
Through 20 years and 100 revivals, Mel Miller’s Musicals Tonight has offered affordable entertainment, opportunity for young performers to strut their stuff in full productions, and a chance for lay audience and professionals alike to see obscure, short-lived, decades old, and never produced pieces as well as favorites they might’ve missed. Miller’s love and dedication provided a service few would have kept going with little economic remuneration and increasingly complicated production demands. This is the LAST show. Musicals Tonight will be missed.
Photos by Milliron Studios
Opening: Peter Gosik (Wild Bill Hickock); Rosalie Burke (Katie); Dallas Padoven Kristin Wetherington (Calamity Jane), Caitlin Evans, Abby Hart
Musicals Tonight presents
Calamity Jane– a musical western
Libretto- Ronald Hammer & Phil Park
Lyrics- Paul Francis Webster; Music- Sammy Fain
Directed/Choreographed- Devin Vogel
Musical Director/Vocal Arranger- Nevada Lozano
The Lion Theatre
410 West 42nd Street
Through March 25 2018