The Donner Party, a bold new musical that dares to explore one of the most horrific tragedies in California history, will have its world premiere at Sacramento Theatre Company in the spring of 2017. STC has commissioned the team of Eric Rockwell and Margaret Rose to write the new musical.
The show will dramatize the harrowing journey of pioneers who faced unspeakable horrors when trapped in the high sierras. According to Rockwell, “The Donner Party history includes one of the most gruesome events in the settling of California, but there’s much more to the story. It‘s an inspiring tale that shows the triumph of the human spirit.” Rose adds, “It’s filled with drama and darkness, yes, but also joy and hope.”
Michael Laun, STC's Executive Producing Director, recently returned from New York City, where he reviewed progress on the new work with the creators. “Sacramento audiences are in for a treat!,” reports Laun, “There’s no better place for the world premiere of The Donner Party than STC because of our proximity to Sutter’s Fort, the Donners’ ultimate destination. The spirit and determination of the Donners and other early pioneers played a big part in the history of Sacramento and Northern California.”
As native Californians, Rockwell and Rose themselves have ties to the area. They met as students in the theater department at C.S.U. Sacramento, and continued their collaboration after moving to New York City, where they were members of the prestigious BMI Musical Theater Workshop. After years of creating musicals for east coast theaters, they returned to Sacramento in 2013, when STC presented the world premiere of their musical, A Little Princess.
According to Laun, “A key component of STC’s mission is to produce new works, but there’s always some risk involved in producing a show that people haven’t heard of. We are confident that in this case, with big risks will come big rewards. We’re excited to be a part of the beginning of this musical, and know that Sacramento audiences will be thrilled with the theatrical experience of The Donner Party.”