Following the success of the world premiere in Sacramento, the show will now be christened with a brand new name!
Instead of “The Donner Party,” the name of the show will reflect the universal message of the musical, as a way to indicate that while the plot of the show concerns a particular group of people who lived 170 years ago, it is moreover a message of hope and inspiration to people of today, no matter where they are on their own journeys.
Early on during the Sacramento run, Eric Rockwell & Margaret Rose realized that by calling the musical “The Donner Party” they were focusing on only one aspect of the show, the historical event. But what they always intended to present – and what, in fact, the audiences responded to – was a story not just about those pioneers of the 1840s, but a story that relates to us, now, today.
The writers explain that the themes explored in the musical – the choices we make on our journeys, accepting responsibility for the consequences of our choices, and the ever-present ability to make new choices – these are issues which can be applied to our own lives. As Rockwell states, “We're not so different from the Donners and the Reeds, really. We're all on a journey, and we will all face difficulties. And we all have the power to choose how we will respond to the challenges in our lives. We wanted a title that would reflect this.” Rose makes it even more personal: “What would I have done, when faced with the hardships Margaret Reed faced? Would I have had her strength of mind and body to persevere? Would I have had Tamsen Donner's wisdom? And more important, when I am tested today, when my personal will and mind and body are tried, how will I react? What will I choose to do when I meet my own mountain?”
“And then we realized we had the perfect title, already in the show!” said Rockwell.
It’s the song which opened Act Two, sung by three spiritual beings who have become the guides through the Donner story and who then turn to the audience to ask that very question. This is the song which, over and over again, people told Rockwell & Rose they couldn’t stop singing, in the car on their way home from the theater, the next day while sitting at work. It’s a song that stayed with them. Give it a listen (click play button, below), you’ll be singing along, too: the title song from the musical, Meet Your Mountain.