Sweet Mississippi

Mark Twain characters Huck and Tom in a new adventure
Music and Lyrics by Stewart Gordon
Book by Robert Weller

This musical was born as a result of Robert Weller's having seen a performance of Aunt Polly, liking the music but not the treatment of the Twain material. An academic in American literature whose
special research area was Twain, Weller felt the character development and story line were not in keeping
with Twain's unique brand of humor and yarn spinning. However, he thought the idea of a musical based on these characters was valid. Thus he conceived another story of Tom and Huck as young men, developed a theatrical book from his plot, and asked Stewart Gordon to write another score. The finished work ran for several weeks and was favorably reviewed when it was mounted in a community theater production in a suburb of Washington D. C. The cast included professional musicians, amatuer thespians, and a large group of children. A successful collaboration of performers at different levels of achievement. There were special performances for school children, seniors, and other community groups. Critic Roger Meersman stated in a review that the show should be "Broadway bound." This production was directed by book author Robert Weller.

Plot Synopsis

The show opens with the arrival the steamboat Missouri Queen at St. Petersburg. The townsfolk are on the landing to welcome a congressman whose agenda is "put St. Petersburg on the map" as a young city. In reality the "congressman" is bogus, for he is really a disguised a member of a family of actors, the Crabtrees, who also get off the boat. Arriving too is a Cajun woman, Maya Laveau, and her mute daughter. The "congressman" is celebrated by the towns folk; the actors welcomed with enthusiasm, and Maya and her daughter scorned as weird. Tom Sawyer, now married to the former Becky Thatcher, and Huck are part of the welcoming group. Maya gives Huck Jim's pipe as a sign that she comes as a trusted friend, and the boys agree to meet her later that night to hear news of Jim.. Meanwhile the "congressman" gives a pompous speech outlining his plan for making St. Petersburg a major transportation and trade center. As the townsfolk become excited about these plans he raises the issue of "investment." Clevely he talks the townsfolk into giving him a voucher to withdraw Injun Joe's treasure money from a St. Louis bank, money to be used as seed money for the St. Petersburg development plan. That night the actors give their show, are applauded by the townsfolk, but.quickly depart afterward with the "congressman" and the voucher, catching the midnight steam boat back down river. In their tryst with Maya, Huck and Tom learn from her mystical vision of the actors' plot, rush back to the landing to catch the thieves, but miss the boat.

For the remainder of the show, the boys follow the troupe down the Mississippi River, experiencing adventures along the way: a saloon in St. Louis, where they almost catch up with the Crabtrees; feuding families in Tennessee; getting jailed (Maya appears and gets them out). They finally catch up with the Crabtrees (by now loveable rogues) in New Orleans and get the money back. The Crabtrees, however, manage to escape to Europe at the last moment. A fun-filled family musical, ideal for school production or theme park.

Song Titles:
Act I

(In St. Petersburg)
"Missouri Queen"
Tom, Huck, Mayor and townsfolk
"Sweet Mississippi" Maya Laveau, Tom, Huck, Mayor and the townsfolk
"Tonight at Eight" Seven-year-old Tyrone Crabtree, his siblings and parents
Reprise: "Missouri Queen" Mayor and townsfolk
"Close to my Heart" Tom and Becky
"The Stars Say" Maya Laveau, Tom, Huck
"What's Real is Here Upon the Stage"
Maude Crabtree, Noah Crabtree
(On the journey to St. Louis)  
"We Gotta Catch Up" Tom, Huck, Maya

(In St. Louis)
"The Flim Flam Game" Maud, Noah, and Grover Crabtree
"Sing Me Somethin' Honky Tonk" Huck and the saloon girls

Act II

(Meanwhile in St. Petersburg)

"Wave the Flag" Mayor and townsfolk
Reprise: "Close to my Heart" Becky
(On the journey down the Mississippi River)  
"Captain Thomas Sawyer" Tom
(along the Mississippi River in Tennessee)  
"Nothin' Personal" the McMurdys and the Hillfords


(in a Tennessee jailhouse)


"I Know Who I Can Be"

(onboard the Missouri Queen)  
"Make Way for a Fabulous Actress" Maude, Noah, Grover, and Tyrone Crabtree
Spanish sequence
Viennese sequence
Asian sequence
Russian sequence
(in a Tennessee jailhouse)  
"Hold on to Your Dreams" Maya
(on the dock in New Orleans)  
Partial Reprise: "Missouri Queen"
New Orleans citizens
Partial Reprise: "Tonight at Eight" Tyrone Crabtree

Reprise: "Sweet Mississippi"


Materials for a production of Sweet Mississippi can be made available. Email contact: sgordon@dc.rr.com