1996 – Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane

Adapted by Ronald Hanmer and Phil Park from a stage play by Chrles K. Freeman after the Warner Bros. film written by James O’Hanlon. Music by Sammy Fain. Lyrics by Paul Fancis Webster.

Monday, 13th May to Saturday, 17th May, 1996
The Spadesbourne Suite, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove.

Cast And Credits

  • Stage Director: Stephen Duckham
  • Musical Director: Alan Biddle
  • Calamity Jane: Karen Hartley
  • Wild Bill Hickock: Kevin Hirons
  • Lt. Danny Gilmartin: Craig Calder
  • Katie Brown: Sonia Bethell
  • Henry Miller: George Brooks
  • Susan: Jennifer Proctor
  • Francis Fryer: J. Paul Murdock
  • Adelaide Adams: Hilary Holland
  • Rattlesnake: Frank Fawcett
  • Doc Pierce: David Shaw
  • Joe: John Teece
  • Hank: David Holland
  • Pete: Alan Bailey
  • Colonel: Ian G. Cox


One of the legendary figures of the Old West, Calamity Jane lives in Deadwood and rides shotgun on the stage-coach between Deadwood and Chicago. She dresses as a man, drinks like a man and can shoot better than most men. Although there is an element of truth in her adventures, the number of Indians shot and brave soldiers saved by her have led the townspeople to feel that she is “careless with the truth”!

Despite her outward toughness she has fallen for Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin and also, to a lesser extent, Wild Bill Hickock, a gambler.

Henry Miller is the owner of the Golden Garter Saloon and is anxiously awaiting actress Frances Fryer booked to perform that night. His anxiety increases when she does not arrive on the stage-coach. Due to a booking error a song and dance man Francis Fryer arrives instead, not what Miller’s red blooded customers would want. To dispel a riot Miller persuades Fryer to do a female impersonation. This is a disaster but Calamity saves the day (and Miller’s hide) by promising the angry audience she will go to Chicago and fetch Adelaide Adams, a famous start of vaudeville.

In Chicago, Calamity mistakes Adelaide Adams’ maid, Katie Brown, for the great star. Stage-struck Katie seizes the chance to break into show business by agreeing to perform at the Golden Garter. Her impersonation of Adelaide flops, but Calamity calms the audience and, given a second chance, Katie performs her own act and becomes the toast of Deadwood.

Katie and Calamity become good friends and Katie moves into Calamity’s cabin in the beautiful Black Hills of Dakota. Danny and Bill have fallen for Katie and visit the cabin to seek her favour. A ball at Fort Scully promotes an opportunity for the four of them to go as a foursome, with Calamity in a borrowed gown, revealing her feminine side and becoming the belle of the ball.

Danny finds himself alone with Katie, and declares his love for her. Katie although worried about Calamity, is overcome by passion and they fondly embrace and kiss. Calamity discovers them and flies into a rage, ordering Katie to get out of town.

Calamity sets back to her cabin to throw Katie’s belongings out, but on the trail with Wild Bill she discovers her “Secret Love” for him, and yes, you can guess, it all ends with wedding bells. But for how many weddings?

Song List


Act 1:

  • The Deadwood Stage (Calamity & Company)
  • Careless With The Truth (Calamity, Bill & Men)
  • Adelaide (Bill & Men)
  • Ev’ry one Complains About The Weather (Fryer)
  • Men (Calamity & Women)
  • Hive Full of Honey (Fryer)
  • I Can Do Without You (Calamity & Bill)
  • It’s Harry I’m Planning To Marry (Adelaide & Men)
  • It’s Harry I’m Planning To Marry (Reprise) (Katie)
  • Adelaide (Reprise) (Men)
  • Windy City (Calamity & Company)
  • Keep It Under Your Hat (Katie)
  • Keep It Under Your Hat (Reprise) (Katie & Company)
  • Careless With The Truth (Reprise) (Company)

Act 2:

  • A Woman’s Touch (Calamity & Katie)
  • Higher Than a Hawk (Bill)
  • The Black Hills of Dakota (Company)
  • Love You Dearly (Danny & Katie)
  • Men (Reprise) (Calamity & Bill)
  • Secret Love (Calamity)
  • Secret Love (Reprise) (Bill & Calamity)
  • Finale (Company)

What The Press Said

Hotshot is on Target

The success of this popular musical depends on the strength of the actress playing the part of the sharp shooting tomboy.

Karen Hartley takes on the responsiblity and meets all the character requirements domineering but in a pleasantly persuading way, tough but endearing.

Kevin Hirons has a rich singing voice as Wild Bill Hickock – his best number is Higher than a Hawk – and there is an amusing performance from J Paul Murdock as Francis Fryer. The show ends on Saturday.

Peter Swingler – The Evening News

Trip to the Windy City was a Whip Cracker

If you’re after a whip cracking night out this weekend, then look no further than Bromsgrove Operatic Society’s production of Calamity Jane, a sharp shootin, high ridin, rootin tootin belter of a show.

It is simple enough to list the ingredients of a good production – fine principals, good singers, a meaty supporting chorus, nice costumes and a gifted orchestra – but it is a difficult job to actually get them all. Fortunately Bromsgrove Operatic Society manages to do just that.

It seems unfair to single out certain actors since the whole company performed so well, however, mentions must be made of Karen Hartley’s Calamity, a mighty fine performance that strutted and swaggered across the stage with great confidence and managed to be both pistol packin (literally some very loud bangs rang round the hall)and sweet singing Wild Bill Hickock, Kevin Hirons proved a fitting sparring partner for Calamity and Sonia Bethal was a suitably sweet Katie Brown. And I simply have to mention J Paul Murdocks Francis Fryer a nerdy but nice masterpiece.

The chorus provided excellent support and the set pieces – Black Hills of Dakota, The Deadwood Stage and Windy City – were all present, correct and full of uplifting energy.

The only slight gripe concerns the use of microphones – the voices of all the singer seemed so strong they were hardly needed.

All in all this is a hell of a show that’ll have you hummin and yahooing all the way home.

Howard Walker – The Standard


Calamity Jane

A lively rip roaring production with lively principals and chorus. I was impressed by the orchestra who were in complete control of the situation. I was glad to hear that there is now some amplification at this venue. It is so much more enjoyable to be able to hear all the words and music. Kevin Hirons made the most handsome beliveable character of ‘Bill’ and Karen Hartley was an excellent ‘Calam’. One of my favourite performers on the amateur stage did his usual professional job and Francis Fryer – J Paul Murdock always gets every ounce of comedy from each role he plays. One of my favourites George Brooks gave his usual convincing portrayal of the part of Henry Miller. On the whole a most enjoyable relaxing production.

Noda News