by Dale Wasserman
Music and Lyrics by
Bill Francoeur and Scott DeTurk
When hoboing through Colorado
sometimes I’d drop off my designated freight train
and go backpacking into the mountains. I was surprised
by the number of ghost towns I’d run across —
little left but rotting planks, inhabited only by lizards
and packrats. At night I’d lie awake beneath the
stars, imagining these towns as once they must have
been and wondering why some survived and others came
to these melancholy ends.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, "Eastward
I go only by force, but Westward I go free." But
did these people "go free?" Or in their baggage
was included the defects of character which led them
to abandon the East? The folks who went West were not
the clear-eyed pioneers of Hollywood fame -- in general
they were bankrupts, jailbirds, floozies, crooks and
con-men fleeing failure or prison.
Out of these wonderings was born
"Western Star," a musical speculation on the
magnet that drew such people West, and of their trials
when they got there.
The musical score, written by Bill
Francoeur and Scott DeTurk, is perfectly wonderful,
I claim, and wonderfully melodic and singable. It's
available on a fully orchestrated demo disc from Music
Theatre International -- as is the script.