The Real Pearl Hart - Victorian Lady
synopsis

Between the Wild West Show and Vaudeville, THE LEGEND OF PEARL HART careens from Victorian love to western crime to the pages of yesterday's newspapers. Based on true events, Pearl's story of love, adventure and fame is presented with evocative music and a cast of colorful characters.

ACT I:

Curtain up on 1893 as America hurtles towards the twentieth century. Teenage Pearl and her sister Lucy, an aspiring writer, attend a finishing school for girls. With unquenchable optimism and passion, Pearl falls in love with Jack Hart, a gambler. Hart proposes to marry Pearl and take her to the World's Colombian Exposition, all she needs to do is cut high card (Music of Chance sung by Hart). Lucy asks if Hart truly loves her (Paper Heart sung by Lucy, Pearl and Hart).

Once in Chicago, Hart hires on as barker for the Wild West Show, but things fall apart (All in the Cards sung by Pearl and Hart) and he abandons Pearl before she can tell him she's pregnant. Smitten cowboy Truman comes to heartsick Pearl's rescue with a job and friendship and as the fair closes, Pearl must let Truman down easy (Just Like a Cowboy sung by Pearl and Truman).

After the show closes and the baby is born, Pearl travels to Arizona to visit Truman and to find a new life for her family. Upon her arrival, she is shunned by the town folk. Kate, French-loving proprietress of the Heifer Den saloon and Sheriff Truman's new girlfriend, invites Pearl in for an education on her grim prospects for finding a respectable job. At a loss, Pearl challenges Kate to a game of poker. The stakes rapidly escalate until Pearl emerges as the new owner (Old Fashioned Way sung by Kate, Joe, Ed and Pearl).

Pearl rapidly transforms the saloon into a genteel hotel, just in time for Truman and Hart to arrive separately and unannounced. Hart wants Pearl to cash out so they can hit the road but Pearl wants to settle down with their family. Chafing, Hart gambles for high stakes and loses Pearl's hotel. Embarrassed, he abandons our indigent Pearl once again.

The lecherous new owner offers everyone jobs in his new saloon, making an especially lascivious offer to Pearl. He gives them until morning to think it over. Bartender and aging rebel miner Joe Boot offers Pearl the safety of marriage (Heliotrope sung by Joe), but she gracefully declines, reminding him that she is already wed.

Desperate for money and angry that the law allows a husband such complete power over a wife's property, Pearl has a novel proposal of her own--rob a stagecoach. She kicks out the jambs, dresses up like a cowboy and sets off on a brief and ill-planned scheme for money to start over (Cowboy Drag sung by Pearl).

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