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Calamity Jane

The Stevenage Lytton Players performed Calamity Jane at Stevenage's Gordon Craig Theatre from Thursday 23rd May 2002, until Saturday 25th May  2002.

Calamity Jane is an energetic musical about the unlikely romance of famed Western tomboy Calamity Jane and gunfighter Wild Bill Hickock, Deadwood City's two most famous peace officers.  They get involved in saving the neck of Henry Miller, the local saloon operator.  It seems that "Millie" has been promoting a beautiful actress named Frances Fryer, but Frances turns out to be a boy, Francis.  Millie's attempt to cover up is soon unmasked by the angry miners, and only Calamity can cool the crowd with her trusty pistols.  To keep the peace, Calamity sets out for Chicago to bring back the miner's real heart-throb, Adelaide Adams.  In Chicago Calamity mistakes Adelaide's maid, Katie Brown, for the actress and hauls her back to Deadwood.  Onstage Katie is greeted warmly, but breaks down and confesses that she is not the famous star.  Calamity once more has to restore order and persuades the audience to give Katie a chance.  They do, and she wins the heart of every male in town including Calamity's dashing love hope, Lt. Danny Gilmartin.  Calamity reluctantly overcomes her jealousy over losing Danny and discovers her true love for Wild Bill.

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane was a wandering American frontierswoman who dressed like a man and frequented bars, telling stories of her adventures. She was born Martha Jane Canary in Princeton, Missouri on May 1, 1852. She was orphaned by 1867 and began roaming the mining districts of the west. In the late 1870s she was a familiar sight in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. In 1891 she married Clinton Burke, but he soon deserted her. She toured in Wild West shows and claimed to have been a pony express rider and a scout with General Custer's forces. How Calamity Jane received her nickname is uncertain, like much else about her legendary life. "Calamity" may have referred to her hard-luck times, to her willingness to help those in trouble, or to the fate of her enemies (because of her skill with a pistol).

Martha "Calamity Jane" Canary Burke died in 1903 in Terry, South Dakota. She was buried in Mount Moriah cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota, next to Wild Bill Hickock.

Although many fictional accounts pair Calamity Jane with Wild Bill Hickock, the two were never romantically involved.

Music by SAMMY FAIN.  Lyrics by PAUL FRANCIS WEBSTER
Adapted by RONALD HANMER and PHIL PARK
From the stage play by CHARLES K. FREEMAN after WARNER BROS. film written by JAMES O'HANLON
These amateur performances are given by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD.