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The World Premiere of Both Eyes Open: The Annie Oakley Story at LNT
August 29, 2022
Lost Nation Theater presents the world premiere of BOTH EYES OPEN: THE ANNIE OAKLEY STORY, an entertaining solo going beyond the legend, by Jeanne Beckwith, September 8–18
photo courtesy of Wayne Fawbush
You know that Ginger Rogers quote about doing everything Fred Astaire did, but in heels & backwards?
It reminds me of Annie Oakley – except she did everything side-saddle, wearing a corset, and trying to counter all the rumors spread about her!
Lost Nation Theater is giving the sharp-shooting legend her say when it presents Both Eyes Open: The Annie Oakley Story, September 8–18th at Montpelier City Hall Arts Center!
Maura O'Brien (Always, Patsy Cline, Becoming Dr Ruth) stars as the one and only Annie Oakley – preeminent horsewoman and sharp-shooter– in the world premiere of this new play by award-winning Vermont playwright, Jeanne Beckwith.
Beckwith cracks open the legend to reveal the real lady and her fascinating life.
Full of humor, heart-break, sharp wits, and white-knuckled determination, Oakley sets the record straight.
Defying death at least three times, this Little Sure Shot's determination saw her from the poor farm to dining with Queens and Kings, blazing her own path all the while. And she always shot with both eyes open.
LNT commissioned award-winning playwright Jeanne Beckwith to write Both Eyes Open: the Annie Oakley Story especially for LNT fan favorite Maura O'Brien.
“I started doing a little research and came to discover that the “Annie Oakley” I thought I knew was in many ways a fictional character dreamed up by people who had not known or understood her for the extraordinary human being that she was. In reality, she was way cooler than Hollywood or Broadway ever made her out to be.”
- Jeanne Beckwith, playwright
After meetings to discuss ideas for the play, we set our sights on Annie Oakley - an outspoken, ridiculously talented, before-her-time woman, who found success on the stage. But despite her fame, most people don't really know Oakley's real story. She is the epitome of surviving and thriving. Her story is fascinating.
Founding Artistic Director, and the show’s scenic designer, Kim Bent offers:
“Collaborating with Jeanne on this Annie Oakley project has been pure creative joy! The facts of Annie’s real life are so much more fascinating and compelling than any of the popular stories and myths that she inspired. It feels incredibly satisfying to, in some small way, help her "set the record straight!”
LNT’s Producing Artistic Director Kathleen Keenan helms the production.
She is not only eager and grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Maura O’Brien and Jeanne Beckwith again, she also finds hope and inspiration from Annie’s determination to live her life on her own terms.
Both Eyes Open is a kind of ‘reunion’ show! Everyone involved is a longtime Lost Nation Theater favorite collaborator: costume designer Cora Fauser, lighting designer Samuel J Biondolillo, props & dressing designers Laura Gist and Ann Harvey, stage manager William Pelton, dialect coach John D Alexander, with Tim Tavcar on music design, and Sarah Menard on wardrobe.
Annie Oakley is a perfect role for O'Brien. She and Annie share a strong spirit and a natural gift for connecting with an audience.
We're confident that you will agree!
“I have developed a deep admiration for the obstacles she faced and overcame, for her strength of character and will to live her passion at a time when women had virtually no rights in our society. She managed successfully in a man’s world, keeping her honor and dignity intact, even if that meant going up against the powerful.”
– Maura O’Brien