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Gold Dust or Bust

A Social Studies Musical

Bad Wolf Press provides fun and easy musical plays for K-9 classrooms

*  Bring your curriculum, your classroom to life
*  Absolutely no musical talent/ability needed!
*  Catchy melodies, dumb jokes, interesting stories
*  Everything you need at one low price
CLICK HERE to see Common Core Standards & Vocabulary for this play.
CLICK HERE to read Teacher Reviews for this play.

Casting

Flexible casting from 11-40 students.
Use as many Overlanders, Argonauts, Merchants, etc. as desired; one student
can also play more than one role. Note that roles are not gender-specific: Sam
can easily be played by a girl, for example; see our comments on page 30 of
the Teacher's Guide .

Script

This is the first one-third of the script:

CHARACTERS:
Luzena Wilson
Becky
John Sutter
James Marshall
Gold Fever Singers
Overlanders
Sam
Argonauts
Pan Miners
Carnival Barker
Johnny the Announcer
Children
Merchants
City Miners
and a Chorus made up of all students who are not playing roles at the time.

(The CLASS enters from either side, or is already on stage in two groups. During several
short instrumental breaks in the song, the STUDENTS put together a giant map of California
on the back wall of the stage. The map has San Francisco and Sacramento labeled, as well
as the Gold Rush country outlined.)

Song 1

   

HALF OF CLASS (sings) 
Sleepy northern California
In 1848
We've got ranchos and steers
Just a few pioneers
And tons of real estate.

OTHER HALF OF CLASS:
Sleepy northern California
In 1848
There's no smog in the air
We've got grizzly bears
And we're not yet a state.

ENTIRE CLASS:
But grab your picks and shovels, friends
It's all gonna change real soon
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Start singing a different tune.

Abandoned ships will fill the bay
They'll bob and float around
You can't keep the crews
When they hear the news that gold's been found.

Eggs will cost three dollars each
You'll live in just a shack
It's too much for some
But most who will come aren't going back.
So grab your picks and shovels, friends
It's all gonna change real soon
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Start singing a different tune.
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust
Gold dust or bust.

(CLASS exits. LUZENA and BECKY step forward)

LUZENA (to audience): Hello. My name is Luzena Wilson. I was one of the first women to
come to California during the gold rush. This is my friend Becky, and we'll be your guides today.

BECKY: You're in luck. It's January 24th, 1848, and we're near Sacramento at a new saw
mill owned by John Sutter. Luzena, you know what happened here on this fateful day?

LUZENA: I sure do.

BECKY: It's the day I discovered gold and started the gold rush. I was fishing for trout and
accidentally hooked a gold nugget the size of a Land Rover. The rest is history.

LUZENA: Becky, let's not start that again. (to audience)
Becky tends to lie a little bit.

BECKY: I remember it like it was yesterday. That nugget was putting up a heck of a fight.
I was using ten pound line and a peanut butter sandwich for bait when...

LUZENA (interrupting): Becky! We're here to watch a man named James Marshal discover
gold on land owned by John Sutter. Here they are.

(THEY step aside as MARSHALL rushes on stage from one side, racing up to SUTTER
who enters from the other.)

MARSHALL: Captain Sutter, Captain Sutter, I found gold near your saw mill.

SUTTER: Are you sure?

MARSHALL: Absolutely! I had it tested. You've got gold on your land. Gold! Gold!

SUTTER: Quiet down, Marshall. We need to keep this just between me and you. (sings)

Song 2 

   

SUTTER : 
It's our little secret
It's just between us
Our little secret
Let's not make a fuss.

SUTTER and MARSHALL:
Our little secret
We won't tell a soul
(THEY sing the last three words loudly)
Nobody needs to find out we found gold.

SUTTER, MARSHALL, and TWO OTHERS from CHORUS:
It's our little secret
We'll just tell our friends
Maybe a cousin
But that's where it ends.

SUTTER, MARSHALL, and FOUR OTHERS from CHORUS:
Our little secret
We don't have a doubt
No way our secret can ever get out.

We found gold
We found gold
We found gold
(quietly)
But it's a secret.

SUTTER, MARSHALL, and SIX OTHERS (quietly):
It's our little secret
So don't talk too loud
If we are careful
We won't draw a crowd.

ENTIRE CLASS (as many as possible crowding on stage):

Our little secret
No one here will cheat
We all are masters of being discreet.

HALF CLASS: OTHER HALF of CLASS:
We found gold We found gold

We found gold We found gold

We found gold We found gold

ENTIRE CLASS:
But it's a secret
(louder)
a secret
(louder)
a secret
(louder)
a secret...

It's our little secret
It's just between us
Our little secret
Let's not make a fuss.

Our little secret
We won't tell a soul
Nobody needs to find out we found gold.

(SUTTER and MARSHALL join class in exiting. LUZENA and BECKY enter)

LUZENA: Of course, the "secret" was soon out. In December of 1848, President
ames Polk announced to the entire nation that huge amounts of gold had been found
in northern California.

BECKY: President Polk was a great man. He invented television, and so a grateful
nation named their favorite card game, poker, in his honor.

LUZENA: Becky, stop it. None of that is true. However, the entire nation did catch
gold fever. From New England to New Orleans, people dreamed of getting rich in California.

(THEY exit, as GOLD FEVER SINGERS appear)

Song 3 

   

GOLD FEVER SINGERS 
Gold fever
All over the place
Gold fever
A terrible case
Oh gold fever
It's deep in my chest
Gold fever
We've gotta go West.

I dream of golden nuggets (Do-be-do-bah)
Gold dust in golden buckets (Do-be-do-bah)
This bug is so outrageous (Do-be-do-bah)
It's terribly contagious
Do-be-deh-do-bah, la la la la.

Gold fever
All over the place
Gold fever
A terrible case
Oh gold fever
It's deep in my chest
Gold fever
We've gotta go West.

(This concludes the first one-third of the script.)

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