"SACAGAWEA" explores the "Corps Of Discovery" of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the relationship between Lewis, Clark and the expedition's young Indian guide, Sacagawea. This expedition stands as one of the best known examples of American courage and idealism in this country's history: A voyage which was announced to the public as purely scientific, yet who's real purpose was economic and national expansion; A voyage who's ideals were to establish a country of "free and equal" men from ocean to ocean, yet whose commanders thought nothing of bringing along a black slave, or hiring a woman whose husband won her in a card game; An expedition who's captains were told to study the Indian tribes along the way and "assure them of our friendship", when all along Jefferson intended to move them out of the way of American settlers and place them on "a large and pleasant reservation".
This musical traces the journey of Lewis and Clark to the Pacific and back, with the budding romance between Clark and Sacagawea set against the tortured mind of Meriwether Lewis. As Sacagawea accompanies these men through hostile territory, she becomes a strong and independent woman who finds that she can neither exist among her own people nor the world of the white man. A true but unsettled democracy develops on the journey as Clark’s slave York and Sacagawea are given equal votes with the rest of the corps.
Book and lyrics by Mary Bracken Phillips
Sacagawea was commissioned by the Willows Theatre and underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It had its premiere in the summer of 2005 . A suite from the musical has been performed by the Billings Symphony, The California Symphony, the Diablo Symphony and Pro Musica.
MERIWETHER LEWIS: Twenty-eight, short. Might be considered handsome if not for a stiff and overly formal manner. High baritone/low tenor.
WILLIAM CLARK: Thirty-two. Tall, red-haired, easy going and charming. The diametric opposite of Lewis. Baritone.
JOHN ORDWAY: Mid-twenties. The company clown. High baritone.
PATRICK GASS: Early thirties. Solid and serious. High baritone.
GEORGE DROUILLARD: Early thirties. Half Shawnee. Expert marksman and hunter. Tall dark and taciturn.
PIERRE CRUZATTE: Forties. Half Omaha. An expert river man, and fiddler. High baritone.
GEORGE SHANNON: Eighteen. The baby of the group. A bit naive and vague which results in his frequently getting lost. Tenor.
TOUSSAINT CHARBONNEAU: Forty-five. Wiley French Canadian trapper with few scruples. Tenor.
YORK: African American. Huge. Early thirties. Bass baritone.
An ensemble of four men who play various members of The Corps Of Discovery. All in their early twenties.
SACAGAWEA: Eighteen-year-old Shoshone who was kidnapped by the Hidatsas at the age of twelve and made a slave until she was won in a card game by Charbonneau. Small, lovely and overly demure until her time with the Corps Of Discovery brings out the spirited young woman behind her expressionless exterior. Mezzo/belter.
CAMEAWAITE Chief Of The Shoshones. Early thirties. Baritone
STRAYS AWAY Nez Perce. Mid forties. Soprano
An ensemble of three Native American women and three men who play various Indian characters.
2 flutes (pic)
1 Oboes (Eng. Horn)
2 clarinets in Bb
4 horns in F
2 trumpets in C