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Main Street Musicals

 

MainStreet Evaluations

Forlorn Hope - The Donner Party Musical (1138C)

| script | snap shot | cast description | synopsis | evaluation form |

Musical selections

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Nomination Form

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This show has been submitted ONLY to determine whether it qualifies as a semi-finalist in the Mainstreet Award competition.  The Nomination Form - which is linked to the email you received - provides the “yes” or “no” option.

Music

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Script

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SnapShot

  • TITLE OF WORK: Forlorn Hope
  • SELECT ONE: Original
  • MUSICAL STYLE: Broadway,Folk
  • NATURE: Drama
  • INTENDED AUDIENCE: General
  • STRUCTURE: Spoken dialogue with occasional songs
  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 2 hrs 15min
  • DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: 2 keyboards (with string samples); guitar/banjo; acoustic bass; Harp; Reeds; Perussionist
  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: A FAMILY'S LOVE STAYS STRONG IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, AND TRIUMPHS OVER DEATH.
  • NUMBER OF SETS: 2

Cast Description

PETE: Age 50, owns the Springfield Gazette Newspaper

GEORGE DONNER: Age 50, Leader of the Wagon Train

EDWIN BRYANT: Age 50 Friend of the Donners and Reeds

JAMES REED: Age 50

MARGARET REED: Age 30, Wife of James Reed

VIRGINIA REED: Age 14, Their Daughter

PATTY REED: Age 10, Virginia's sister

MARY TODD LINCOLN: Age 35-40, Wife to Abe Lincoln

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: Age 40, Mary's Husband

TAMSEN DONNER: Age 40, Wife of George Donner

LANSFORD HASTINGS: Age 40-50, Lawyer, Writer Charlatan

TRAPPER CLYMAN: Age 60, a Mountain Man

LUKE HALLORAN; Age 25, dying of TB

C.T. STANTON: Age 30, smokes pipe, short man, bachelor

JAMES BRIDGER; Age 50-60

OLD BILL WILLIAMS: Age 50-70 Scruffy Mountain Man

WILLIAM McCUTCHEN: Age 50, tall man, Reed's travelling companion

LEANNA DONNER: Age 12-14, Daughter of George Donner

JOHN SYNDER: Age 25, Drover for James Reed

ELLIOT: Age 25, another Drover

CAPTAIN SUTTER: Age 50

JOTHAM CURTIS: Age 30, Stranded in the mountains

MRS. CURTIS; Age 28-30,

JOTHAM's Wife:

UNCLE BILLY GRAVES: Age 60

MARY GRAVES: Age 25,

BILLY's niece

WILLIAM EDDY: Age 30, Part of the Forlorn Hope group

AQUILLAR GLOVER: Age 50, Part of Rescue Party

PATRICK DOLAN: Age 40-45, Part of the Forlorn Hope group

LIEUTENANT BARTLETT: Age 50-60, Soldier in California

Synopsis

"WESTWARD HO! Who wants to go to California? Eighty seven men, women and children, including the Donner and Reed families answered the newspaper ad of 1846. The emigrants left Springfield, Illinois, in the Spring, hoping to reach California before October. Margaret Reed expresses her fears about leaving her home, until James her husband reassures her about the Hastings Cut off, which will save 350 miles. (LANSFORD W. HASTINGS) George Donner is given
the honor of having the wagon train named after him, and the emigrants arrive safely at Fort Bridger, where 12-year old Virginia Reed meets Charles Stanton, (THE BUZZARD) and Old Bill
Bill Williams (ROUGHT ON THE OUTSIDE). James Clyman, an experienced trapper, advises
against travelling Hastings Short Cut, but Reed and Donner are convinced that this route will save 350 miles. And so they take the left fork in the trail, instead of the right to California
on the well-established trail.

Only the cut off wasn't what Hastings had promised. Slashing and hacking their way West, the emigrants made only 8 miles in 8 days. One night Virginia is talking to Luke Halloran who is dying of TB. When asked if he is afraid of death, Luke replies that it would be a romantic notion that he be buried on the trail. (A PART OF THE LAND) (I WILL MISS SEEING YOU)

After Luke is buried, the emigrants struggle on. John Snyder sees a storm coming in the distance over the mountains, and expresses his concern, (THERE'S A STORM COMING). Losing his temper, Snyder gets into a fight with James Reed who kills Snyder in self defense. James Reed is banished from the wagon train, and he sets off for California alone.

Later that night, Patty Reed talks to her dolly (WHAT IS A PAPA) and Margaret Reed scans the mountains for signs of her husband (MY SWEETHEARTS ARMS)

The storm breaks. Looking at the snow falling on the Sierra Nevada range, Virginia knows the wagon train will not see California this year.... (I TELL NO ONE)

AT THE BEGINNING OF ACT TWO:

Alone, Virginia remembers happier times with her pony (BILLY) and George Donner contemplates what has happened (MY FAULT) that brought the wagon train to these sad conditions.

James Reed has miraculously arrived at Fort Sutter, meeting up with Bill McCutchen, Together they reflect on life and family (THE SIMPLE PLEASURES) while Margaret and Virgini talk (YOU WILL PROMISE ME) about life and death. Back in Illinois, the Abe and Mary Lincoln sing how lucky the Reeds are to be in California (THE TIME OF THEIR LIFE) not realizing the entire wagon train is hopelessly stranded at Truckee, Nevada.

The group The Forlorn Hope has set off on foot over the pass, in search of help. (A SENSE OF PEACE) and on the Summit, Charles Stanton dies from exhaustion and hunger. ( SONG TO MOTHER)

After struggling to survive for 5 months at Truckee Lake, only 42 emigrants are alive to be lead down the mountain. James Reed and his family are re-united. (I KNEW I WOULD FIND YOU.)
And there is a reprise of the opening number (WESTWARD HO!)

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