May 13

When Broadway Stars Pretend to Cry on your Shoulder

Those of you who live in my home city of Waterbury, CT and read the local paper, specifically the Arts & Entertainment section, may recall reading this article about a local actress-turned-Broadway-star named Marissa Perry. You’re probably wondering why in the heck I’m bringing it up.

The title of this post is 100% true, although it sounds a heck of a lot more interesting than it actually is. See, before she was a Broadway leading lady, Marissa played Annie Oakley, the lead role in my high school’s production of Annie Get Your Gun, the synopsis of which you can read at the link. “So what?”, you no doubt say.

Also in that production, as Chief Sitting Bull: Marc J. Dziezynski.

Now, presumably, Marissa got the part of Annie because of some combination of singing, acting, and dancing ability (Although from what I remember of the auditions, singing was really the only thing we did to audition). I got my role because–and this was confirmed by my choir instructor, who was one of the judges as it were–my facial expression did not change once throughout the first audition (There were actually two–those who did well at the first got called to the second–though from the way my choir instructor told the story, the director of the play had already decided after–if not during–my first audition that I was Sitting Bull, and nothing could change his mind). This was probably for the best; I’m helpless at any form of dancing that does not involve arrows scrolling up a screen, and I’ve discussed my limited vocal range at length before. And as far as “name” roles go, Sitting Bull was probably the easiest one to play in Annie Get Your Gun (That said, I was indeed probably the best choice for the role from the pool of those who tried out. I don’t think I’m a great musical actor by any means–but I was a pretty darn good Sitting Bull) in terms of singing/choreography/etc.

Anyway, the title of the post comes from the very end of Act I of Annie Get Your Gun. Frank Butler has just run off, and left Annie a letter explaining as much. Annie, being unable to read, has Sitting Bull recite the letter for her, and proceeds to cry on his shoulder after he finishes.

So yeah, this is effectively an “I knew a Broadway star before she was famous!” sort of post, but I figured it would be neat to post anyway.

And because one live Rick Astley performance per post is not enough, here’s another, where he’s backed up by Brian May AND Phil Collins. Circa 1988, I guess. If the comments on the video are to be trusted, this gathering of British musicians was apparently an annual thing for awhile. But who cares how often it took place, Astley + May + Collins = World-Ending Amounts of Awesome.


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    • Anonymous on May 14, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I have to agree that you were the best darn Sitting Bull that may have ever lived if any did, indeed, live. And if they didn’t that’s still no Bull.

    • James on May 14, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I’m beginning to believe you sincerely like Rick Astley, as you mention him on a regular basis. I didn’t like him then don’t like him now but hey, to each their own. For example, I not only like ET on the Atari 2600, I think it’s one of the better adventure games for the system.

    I’m bummed I never saw the Sitting Bull performance (and yes, he was very much a real person). I did see Murray the Cop. Back to the ‘Bull, it really is an idea role for you–as you mentioned, you do have a somewhat stoic demeanor except when Dave and I are razzin’ you about not passing the ball in Mario Strikers.

    • MatrixTN on May 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    “I can just picture Sitting Bull in his teepee, ‘It’s been many moons…since we smoked the peace pipe.'”

    – Bill Engvall, Dorkfish (Teeball and Indian Guides)

    • emptyeye on May 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    As far as the role goes, like I said, and like you two agreed with, it really was pretty much me happening to audition for the right play and there being a great role that fit me.

    As for my Rick Astley fascination, my instinct is to say that Rick Astley is a hero and savior to natural baritones (Such as myself) all around the world. In truth? While he does serve as a legitimate example of my approximate vocal range, had the big Internet fad of 2007 been the Dummyroll as opposed to the Rickroll, I’d probably be incessantly linking to “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” instead of “Never Gonna Give You Up” with every chance I got (I probably sound even more like Brad Roberts than I do Rick Astley).

    That said, Rick performing with Brian May and Phil Collins is just amazing no matter how you look at it.

    And yes, Sitting Bull was a real person, though I don’t know that he ever joined Buffalo Bill’s show.

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