3 on the Road: Gold in the Hills
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Three on the Road takes you to a front row seat at the longest-running play in the world, and it is in Mississippi, in Vicksburg. And "Gold in the Hills" is being performed again this weekend.
In 1936 the play was first staged in Vicksburg, and it has been every year since then. William Mathews has been acting in the play for 50 of those 80 years.
"Well,l it was started in 1936 and was first performed on a barge that they had gotten use of form the Corp of Engineers," said Mathews.
After a couple of moves, the play wound up in its most popular venue, the old Mississippi River sternwheeler, the Sprague. The old riverboat really was a showboat for decades, until 1974 when it burned. But by that time many traditions had been formed surrounding "Gold in the Hills," too many to let the play go.
Most of those were family traditions of performing. That's how the current director of the play, Sarah Goss, got involved in it.
And my youngest daughter, they both came in and started doing it and I was like, 'I haven't done theatre in a while. That looks fun.' said Gold in the Hills Director Sara Goss. "And we've done it every run since.
For Sarah and her daughters, that's been five years. But whole generations of Vicksburg families have followed each other on the stage of Gold in the Hills. Including tonight.
"You'll see a father and both of his sons. Sisters. Husband and wife," added Sarah
And there are photographs of relatives who played the show in years gone by hanging in the lobby. And there are plenty of roles of all ages to grow into. The hero, heroine, the villain. That's the part William has specialized in for many decades, the villain.
"There's always something new and of course you have new actors and new actresses that you're working with. So it doesn't get stale," said William.
It's always a new crowd to "aw" the heroine, cheer the hero and boo the villain and continue to push Gold In The Hills farther and farther in the world record books with each performance and further into the lore and longstanding traditions of Vicksburg.
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