McEntire is poised to score four times during 2001. Already, she has enjoyed a critically lauded six-month run in Broadway’s Annie Get Your Gun and anchored this summer’s successful Girls’ Night Out tour.
Partygoers who crowded into the Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater for a preview of Reba, her TV sitcom, laughed often and rose to their feet at the end to give the singer a standing ovation. The show debuts Sept. 14 on The WB TV network.
And Tony Brown, MCA Nashville president and McEntire’s co-producer, praised her for sustaining her prowess as a recording artist. The company will release Greatest Hits Volume III: I’m a Survivor on Oct. 23. The title track, her sitcom theme, is a country hit already. The album also includes a remake of Kenny Rogers ’ 1977 hit, “Sweet Music Man,” produced by Alison Krauss and featuring members of Union Station, drummer Jim Keltner and Chris Thile of Nickel Creek .
Among those attending the gala for McEntire were Barbara Mandrell and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn , as well as Martina McBride and newcomer Carolyn Dawn Johnson , both part of McEntire’s support cast for the Girls’ Night Out tour.
McEntire donated seven costumes from Annie Get Your Gun to the Hall of Fame. The gesture, she said, tied together the worlds of Broadway and country music. The fringed leather outfit from the show’s finale was on display during the party.
“I want my fans to be able to see what I’ve gotten to do on Broadway by bringing a piece of it back to Nashville,” she said. “I’m bringing ‘em home. This is the greatest place to display it, and I’m very proud to have some things here in the Hall of Fame.”
MCA Nashville, the artist agency CAA and SunTrust Bank presented McEntire with a four-sided crystal vase inspired by Vivaldi’s classical composition, Four Seasons.
“We hope you remember,” said CAA’s Rod Essig, “winter and spring, with Annie Get Your Gun, summer with Girl’s Night Out and the fall, go kick ass and have a home run TV show.”
McEntire and her family are about to move to Los Angeles temporarily so she can work on the sitcom. She reports to the set Tuesday (Aug. 28). Her son, Shelby, will enroll in school there.
“It’s going to be a great adventure,” McEntire said. “It’s going to be a different way of life for us, but we’re really looking forward to the change. Have I prepared for it? I don’t know how to prepare for it. … It’s something I just go and do, and I do it with all my heart and soul. What comes on the screen is that heart.”
Wednesday night’s celebration, then, afforded McEntire an opportunity to visit with friends she may not see for a while.
“Tonight’s event is something we never do,” she said during a pre-party news conference. “We never stop and take the time to see what we’ve accomplished. … When you’re staying so busy, you don’t realize what really has happened, and time flies when you’re having fun. I’m kinda surprised that I’ve been in the business 25 years and had as much fun and made as many friends as I have. That’s the best part, right there.”