Performance dates: 15th – 19th March 2011
Venue: The Haymarket, Basingstoke
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?