In the summer of ‘75, embarking on a long-desired California quest, I crossed the country in a midnight blue cargo van (crashing after dark on a mattress wedged between hot-to-the-touch metal slats). The West I discovered was still Wild, and with co-author Guy Nickson, we mined California’s storied energy for a new play. Settling on the Gold Rush as our playing field, IN GOLD WE TRUST drew inspiration from San Francisco’s feverish history, as well as the city’s apoplectic current events.


IN GOLD WE TRUST (3f, 10m), written with co-author Guy Nickson, is a tragicomedy with music about power, greed, and the “American Way” as seen through the gilded mirror of the California Gold Rush. Epic in scope, the play follows the exploits of Jack Roller, a penultimate prospector who rises to power through nefarious business deals with the play’s dream-seekers. Employing outrageous humor, juxtaposition of language between period vernacular and modern speech, and mingling of styles, the play is a parable about the past – and a story for our time.


Production, Popular Theatre, Bethany Arts Center, San Francisco
Workshop, Gene Frankel Theatre, New York City
(The play has been revised since the New York City workshop.)


Curtis Sims, Cristopher Berns, Fortune, Jim Castagnola, Al Perez, Truse Johnson, Carlowe Connelly, Natalie Ziegler, Frederick Fitzgerald, Bruce Shindler, Michael Bledsoe, Jose Durran, Joseph Costello