August 3-19 at Paradise Theatre in Gig Harbor, I’ll be playing Dolly Tate in Annie Get Your Gun!

This is one of my favorite shows, ever. I’m not one of the “I love every musical ever written” kind of folks — I only audition for shows I really want to do — so I don’t use those words lightly. It is immensely fun, and it features many of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits, “There’s no business like show business,” “You can’t get a man with a gun,” and “Anything you can do, I can do better.

I was offered this role two days before my husband’s injury, and while I did get to go to the first read-through before I left for San Antonio, it was up in the air for awhile whether I’d be able to commit to the show. But now since I know my husband is safe and coming home soon, and life will be resuming semi-normalcy, I am returning to rehearsals this week!

After the disappointments I had for the past two summers with productions being cancelled after I’d already started rehearsing, I was not holding my breath. I am very thankful to the kind and understanding people at Paradise Theater. They were willing to wait for me, and though rehearsals have been going on for a couple weeks now, they are going to catch me up. I’m happy that I get to be a part of it and have a fun distraction after all the real-life drama of late.

I’ve had my script with me and have been learning the part in what little spare time I had here in San Antonio. Dolly is such a kick in the pants. She’s funny but not necessarily quick-witted. She is bigoted and self-centered. Really, she’s about the closest thing that this particular show has to a villain.

I think she has a pretty high opinion of herself and her place in the world… she was probably good looking in her day but as the years went on she became increasingly desperate to hold on to her looks as the world started looking past her instead of at her. And meanwhile, she never really found anything to validate her existence other than being the “lovely assistant” to sharpshooter Frank Butler. She seems to have a pretty miserable existence until she reforms (in a way), and unexpectedly finds happiness (of a sort).

Interestingly, the role I was going to do a couple years ago in The Sound of Music, Baroness Schrader, is kind of similar. As the rival for the leading man’s affections, the Baroness was a little older, perhaps a little jaded, a counterpoint to the leading lady. Being a show’s “mean girl” is a challenge and an adventure, that’s for sure.

To quote Frank Butler, “Bein’ miserable is gonna be fun.”