The longest continually-running melodrama in the world began with modest roots on March 28, 1936 by Julia Arnold on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers barge that had been redesigned to resemble a riverboat and renamed the Dixie Belle.
"Gold in the Hills," an 1890's-era melodrama, was written in 1930 by J. Frank Davis. The play was set in the New York Bowery and featured a classic "good" versus "evil" plot.
Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have comprised a cast of singers, dancers, actors and actresses portraying Nell Stanley (heroine farm girl) and her family, John Dalton (hero farm boy), Richard Murgatroyd (villain) and Sam Slade (his accomplice).
In 1948, "Gold" moved to the Sprague, the largest and most powerful sternwheel towboat ever launched, which had been purchased by the City of Vicksburg to serve as a floating theater and river-related museum. When the Sprague burned in 1974, the play was performed in a number of places until a new theater was built in 1977.
No matter what obstacles arise, "Gold in the Hills" delights audiences every year who come to cheer for the hero and heroine, boo the villain (often throwing peanuts at him), and sing along with the cast.
Sponsored by Friends of "Gold in the Hills"