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Jason Donovan sets his sights on Sunderland with Annie Get Your Gun musical

Jason Donovan leads the cast of the musical which is coming to the Sunderland Empire later this year

(l-r) Norman Pace, Emma Williams and Jason Donovan star in Annie Get Your Gun
(l-r) Norman Pace, Emma Williams and Jason Donovan star in Annie Get Your Gun

Jason Donovan leads the cast in a major new production of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, which will be coming to the Sunderland Empire next month.

The former Neighbours legend, pop star and now musical theatre stalwart will play Frank Butler and will be joined on the cast list by Emma Williams as Annie Oakley and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill.

The show premiers in Manchester today before a national tour which will see it coming to Wearside from June 3 to 7. It has been produced by the people who presided over recent productions of South Pacific and West Side Story at the Barbican and Sadlers Wells respectively.

A star of stage and screen, Jason Donovan has appeared in hit musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Sound of Music, War of the Worlds and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Meanwhile Emma is the twice Olivier nominated star of Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang and Love Story. Her other credits include Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

With timeless classics including There’s No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, Annie Get Your Gun tells the legendary story of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West female sharpshooter, Annie Oakley and her romance with fellow sharpshooter, Frank Butler.

When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to town, it only takes one glance for sharp-shooting country girl Annie Oakley to fall head over heels for its star marksman, Frank Butler. Both have truly met their match, revealing their competitive natures as they vie for best shot – and each other’s hearts.

Jason says: “I’ve been very lucky in having some great roles to get my teeth into in the past, but now having the chance to star in the UK premiere production of this award winning version of such a classic musical is very exciting.

“I’m very much looking forward to performing such brilliant songs and appearing alongside a truly great cast as we bring the Wild West to theatres across the country.”

Norman Pace adds: “I can’t wait to get out on the stage and play Buffalo Bill alongside Jason Donovan and Emma Williams, with a script and songs written by the legendary Irving Berlin. Even though it’s nearly 70 years since the show was first performed on Broadway, there’s still a real sense of fun and excitement to a timeless production that I’m very honoured to be a part of.”

Emma says: “I’m thrilled to be playing the legendary Annie Oakley alongside Jason and Norman, and performing iconic songs. Annie Oakley has been played by so many incredible actresses before that it’s a privilege to fill those cowgirl boots, and I couldn’t be more excited to be Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly!”

* Annie Get Your Gun comes to Sunderland Empire from June 3 to 7. For tickets, call 0844 871 3042 or visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire

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