Western Star
A moving narrative of redemption and romance set in the gun-slinging Old West.
Show Essentials
+ Ensemble

Full Synopsis

Act One

After a pre-show series of scrim projections dissolves, taking us through the seasons in the Rockies, Adam No-Name sings to the audience of his love of the land and of being alone ("Damn Near Perfection"). Soon, he is dismayed to find himself surrounded by other settlers who have discovered this land of opportunity, as well. We meet Leeroy and Julie Donivan, who have escaped trouble with the law in Tennessee and come to Esperanza with Julie's fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, to start a new life. Sam Goode and Red Willie Magaw arrive, discovering that it's the perfect place for their next scam. Adam No-Name, seeing the town build up around him, heads for the hills. By the end of the number, the town is built, and we are in the interior of the Bank of Esperanza, where the settlers are seated as if at a church meeting.

Sam and Red Willie discover that the settlers of Esperanza have gathered in the bank for a church service, because they don't have a church. They do have $5,000 poised and ready for the building of a church but have yet to build it, because they have no minister. Taking this ripe opportunity to start a scam, Sam tells the settlers that he's a minister ("Those Who've Gone Astray"). Skeptical of his credentials, the settlers ask him to perform a minister-like miracle before they'll hire him: Up on the mountain, there lives a man who claims to be a doctor. Esperanza is in desperate need of a town doctor. If Sam can "bring that man down to the fold," he can name his terms. A gleeful Sam accepts the challenge ("Those Who've Gone Astray – Reprise").

As it turns out, the mysterious man on the mountain is none other than Adam No-Name, who opened the show. He's found a life of reclusion and is busy hearing the voices from the ghosts of his past as the scene opens ("Voices in the Wind"). Sam and Red Willie petition him, but Adam tells them – in no uncertain terms – to get lost, that he's not interested in rejoining God's faithful fold.

The scene shifts to Julie Donivan rustling up a meager supper, and her brother, Ben, who's doing a jig around their campfire ("Hey Diddle Dee"). Leeroy comes home from work, discouraged that Esperanza hasn't turned out to be his land of riches ("Grab a Little Glory"). He convinces Ben and Julie that the way to turn their fortunes is to rob the bank, and in the subsequent unscripted scene, they rid the town of its $5,000 church building fund.

Flush from their successful heist, the trio returns to their camp. It's only then that Ben reveals that he's been shot. Leeroy abandons the brother and sister with the riches, not wanting to get caught, should Ben need to return to town for medical help. Julie stays with her brother, however, and they make their way up the hill toward Adam's cabin together; but there's nothing that Adam can do. Ben dies in Julie's arms.

Meanwhile, Red Willie is beside himself that they've lost the $5,000 to a passel of kids. Sam, however, is more philosophical. Much to Red Willie's chagrin, Sam is quickly becoming the preacher that he was pretending to be. He's heard the calling of the Lord, but Red Willie convinces him to come back to their life of crime and head west to San Francisco ("Boys of the Flim Flam").

Leeroy returns to Adam's cabin to find Julie, still mourning her lost brother. He tells her that he's hidden the money and is going to lay low over the winter by crossing the mountains. It's a dangerous journey that he fears she won't be able to make with him. He tells her to sit tight until the spring, when he'll come back for her. He leaves.

Alone in Adam's cabin, Julie rummages through Adam's closet, only to find a wedding dress, children's toys and other vestiges of a lost, former life. She dons an outfit and sings to her long-dead father ("The Mandolin Waltz"). Adam returns from hunting and from the shadows, thinks that she's his long-lost wife. At first, he's furious but he then slowly opens up about the family that he lost to diptheria back in North Dakota. He offers Julie a place to stay for the evening but tells her that she has to be gone by morning.

Back in town, Sam tells his congregation that he's been called by the Lord to leave them. Some of the townsfolk beg him to stay; others are skeptical that his sudden departure coincides exactly with the theft of their $5,000 church fund and his inability to bring Adam No-Name, the reclusive doctor, down from the mountain. In the end, however, Mr. Trimble declares his unequivocal faith in Sam and persuades him to stay.

Red Willie is enraged that Sam is going back on his promise to head west to San Francisco. Just as he's about to "out" Sam to his congregants, Sam turns the tables on Red Willie. He tells the townsfolk that Red Willie is the devil incarnate and that he keeps Red Willie around just to remind folks of what they might become. He is the darkness in everyone's soul ("Celebrate Your Dark Side").

Up on the mountain, Adam has decided to let Julie stay. She begins to clean vigorously and together they go through the boxes of keepsakes from his former life ("Holdin' On Or Lettin' Go"). They are interrupted by Sam & Red Willie who arrive once again to convince Adam to move down to the town. Once again, they are unsuccessful, but Red Willie leaves, convinced that he recognizes Julie as one of the robbers. They caper off to plan more mischief.

Julie's scared, now that she's been found out. Adam presses her for the details of her troubles, and she refuses. But winter is coming on now, and the road to the cabin will be impassible until the spring. With the prospect of being alone together for the foreseeable future, Julie and Adam feed their flames of desire ("It's a Temporary Romance").

Act Two

In the entr'acte, we see winter dissolve into spring, revealing the skeleton of a church in the town of Esperanza and the townsfolk preparing for the "town picnic" ("Springtime Fever"). Marshall Crabb appears, fresh from his journey to Silver City, where he was picking up information on a fugitive there who bears a striking resemblance to the chap who robbed the bank last fall. They suspect that this gangster has left the $5,000 hidden in Esperanza, with a cohort to guard it. Just then, Julie arrives down from the mountain to purchase supplies. Red Willie strong-arms her, plies her with spiked punch and tries to get the location of the fortune out of her ("Ballad of the Bandit Queen"). As Red Willie and his hoodlums become increasingly forceful with her, Adam rescues Julie and takes her back up the mountain. Sam follows them. He and Adam have a moment of common understanding as to why they came West to start new lives ("Western Star").

Back in the cabin, Julie's packed and ready to leave. Just as she's about to spill the truth, Adam asks her to marry him ("Too Late for Runnin'"). As he pops the question, Leeroy appears in the doorway. Hoping to spare Adam Leeroy's wrath, Julie shuffles Leeroy (who takes Adam's bottle of whiskey on the way) out the door. Adam is alone and inconsolable, fearing that he's lost the one he loves again ("Adam's Rave"). Swearing that the only emotion that he can feel now is hate, he vows to kill Leeroy. Sam, however, is waiting on the doorstep and confesses to Adam that he's a con-man. He tries to convince Adam not to go on a killing spree and in the process, has a heart attack. Being the doctor that he is, Adam has no choice but to abandon his murderous plan temporarily and tend to Sam.

Meanwhile, Leeroy, three sheets to the wind, has located the $5,000. Julie is incensed that he's buried it in her brother's grave. Drunk and ugly, he wields his gun to bring Julie into line ("Grab a Little Glory – Reprise"). Julie flees. Leeroy fires wildly at visions of ghost gunmen ("Gunfight") as Marshall Crabb appears and takes Leeroy down with one shot. Red Willie inspects the dead Leeroy and tells Crabb that he'll stay with the body until Crabb returns. As soon as Crabb leaves, though, Red Willie takes the sack of loot and leaves.

At the church, Sam and his congregation are bidding farewell to Red Willie, who has just come into a mysterious fortune and will be heading west. Just then, Marshall Crabb arrives, having received a handbill with the descriptions of two wanted con-men bearing striking resemblances to Red Willie and Sam. The deputies arrest Red Willie, but as they confront Sam, Adam and Julie arrive, asking to be married by Reverend Sam. Myrtle Trimble speaks up for the first time to say that Sam has kept his end of the bargain and brought Adam No-Name down from the mountain. That's enough to keep him as their Reverend, despite his sordid past. He makes up a wedding ceremony and marries Adam and Julie on the spot ("Finale").

← Back to Western Star
Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Adam No-name
A ferociously independent man, living in the Rockies and reveling in the land and solitude. Haunted by the death of his wife and children. Initially guarded and mean, he is able to make a genuine connection with Julie and learn to embrace love again.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G#4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Sam Goode
A con-man, who is magisterial and aging. His attempted long con at being a preacher gets to his head. Ends up finding his conscious and becoming kind and caring to those in need.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 55
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: C#3
Red Willie Magaw
Sam's much younger partner-in-crime. He has more reservations about some of their schemes than his partner. Stops at nothing to acquire a large sum, even if it leads to betraying Sam.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: C3
Leeroy Donivan
A handsome settler from Tennessee, frustrated with work and eventually led to a life of crime. Has an animalistic and violent energy, with a reckless grin, and little care for anyone else.
Gender: male
Age: 19 to 19
Vocal range top: Bb4
Vocal range bottom: E3
Julie Donivan
Leeroy's wife, traveling with him to the Rockies to try and change her husband's ways. Not afraid to speak her mind, and she finds a kinsman and eventual lover in Adam. Her involvement in Leeroy's crimes complicates their relationship.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 18
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Benjamin Gwinn
Julie's younger brother, traveling west with her and Leeroy. Youthful, energetic, and spirited, his involvement in Leeroy's plans ultimately leads to his death.
Gender: male
Age: 15 to 15
Vocal range top: C#5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Harlin Trimble
The town banker who journeyed west after putting himself in debt from his previous bank. A simple, kind man with strong religious convictions.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 50
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: C3
Cassandra Trimble
Harlin's wife, she serves as a leader for the town functions. Kind, religious, and naive, just like her husband, but can get caught up in the frenzy of celebration.
Gender: female
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: C4
Victoria Trimble
Alexandra Trimble
Thaddeus Crabb
The hard-eyed Town Marshal. Aggressive, stoic, and constantly skeptical.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 50
Myrtle Crabb
Spencer Trigg
Kirk Murray
Townsfolk (Kirk Murray, Spencer Trigg, Alexandra & Victoria Trimble); Settlers; Shopkeepers; Church Congregation
Full Song List
Western Star: Overture
Western Star: Damn Near Perfection
Western Star: Those Who've Gone Astray
Western Star: Voices In The Wind
Western Star: Hey Diddle-ee
Western Star: Grab A Little Glory
Western Star: The Robbery
Western Star: Boys Of The Flim Flam
Western Star: Mandolin Waltz
Western Star: Celebrate Your Darkside
Western Star: Holdin' On Or Lettin' Go
Western Star: It's A Temporary Romance
Western Star: Springtime Fever
Western Star: Ballad Of The Bandit Queen
Western Star: Western Star
Western Star: Too Late For Runnin'
Western Star: Soliloquy (Adam's Rave)
Western Star: Grab A Little Glory (Reprise)
Western Star: The Gun Fight
Western Star: Finale

Show History


Western Star is a musical with a book by Dale Wasserman (Man of La Mancha) and music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur and Scott DeTurk. It takes place in the "Old West" in the late nineteenth century, a time of expansion and shady dealings.

Wasserman was given the idea for the musical after backpacking through the Colorado mountains. He ran into a surprising number of ghost towns and began to wonder about those who used to inhabit them. He used the Henry David Thoreau quote, "Eastward I go only by force, but Westward I go free," as a guidepost to think about those who went West but did not want to be pioneers: jailbirds, crooks and con-men. He wanted to write a Western tale on the opposite end of the spectrum from the classic, Oklahoma!, apparently tired of the "fairytale" and yearning to write something that has sharpness and a sense of reality.


Western Star made its debut on the West Coast at an amateur production in 1993 in Fairfield, California. It premiered professionally in 1995 with the Civic Light Opera, also in California. The musical was featured in the Festival of New Musicals, sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. NAMT has nurtured the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals since 1985.


  • The West Coast production of Western Star won California's Elly Award for Best Original Work in 1993.

Critical Reaction

"A brand new mold-breaking musical."
– The Beach

"A moving tale of redemption and romance... rich in haunting melodies including waltzes, Country Western ballads and foot-stompin' show stoppers."
– Extra!

"Full of raucous fun."
– Club & Sports Society

"Western Star will undoubtedly join other long-loved classics of the musical stage."
– Valley News




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