Thursday 23 July 2015

Alan J. Lerner's "Paint Your Wagon"

A crusty old miner named Ben and his 16 year old daughter, Jennifer, are panning for gold during the California Gold Rush.  Jennifer strikes gold and the town suddenly swells to 400, all men.  She falls in love with a Mexican named Julio.  Later, her father buys the second wife of a Mormon named Jacob who comes to town.  Jennifer, disgusted with her father, moves East for a year to attend school.  When she returns, she is a "civilized" woman.  She waits for Julio, who has left to find more gold as the rest of the townspeople leave in a caravan of Conestoga wagons.  Julio returns, a broken man.

The play premiered on Broadway in 1951 and ran for a total of 289 performances.  Ben was played by James Barton, Jennifer, by Olag San Juan and Julio by Tony Bavaar.  The musical score, composed by Frederick Loewe, became famous for songs like "Wandrin Star", "I Talk to the Trees" and "They Call the Wind Maria".  The movie premiered in 1969, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin and Jean Seberg.

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