Iron & Gold: Act 1 Synopsis
In the "Prologue" out of time and space, railroad machinist Martin Irons and tycoon Jay Gould explain their motives.
New York City, 1869. Martin has just won a legal case to recoup backpay for a group of seamstresses. Outside the courthouse, some of his coworkers happen by and attempt to impress the women by singing of their glamorous railroad jobs in "Running Trades." In lighthearted rivalry, Martin tells the women that shopmen, rather than those who ride the trains, are more worthy objects of their attentions.
One of the seamstresses, plain Mary Brown, is unimpressed and sings of her desire to leave New York and go West, in "Kentucky."
Jay and his partner Jim Fisk now enter the courthouse, followed by Fisk’s mistress, Josie Mansfield. She encounters Ned Stokes, an old acquaintance. As she updates him on Fisk and Gould’s latest scheme, eavesdropping passersby interrupt to tell them about the duo’s fleecing of Commodore Vanderbilt in "Wizard of Wall Street."
On his way to court Mary, Martin encounters his friend, railroad engineer Nate Travers. Thinking that Martin is after Mary’s roommate, the beautiful Maeve O’Hanlon, Nate urges Martin to either win her or let him have a chance with her. They then see a young man standing on a soap box lecturing about the “labor question.” It is Terence Powderly, who sings "Listen to Reason."
In Jay’s opulent townhouse, Jay and Jim are putting the final touches on their plan to corner the gold market - only possible because they’ve persuaded President U.S. Grant to keep government gold off the market. Reflecting on how they came by their riches, Jim sings "Limited Liability," with phantom businessmen and Jay joining him in a quartet.
After Jim has left, Jay learns that the president seen through their scheme and has ordered the treasury department to flood the market with gold the next day. In "One Second Thoughts," Jay ponders this turn of events, which threatens to ruin him.
Having been turned away from Jay’s house, Josie encounters an old friend. The two sing "Bad Girls," a reminiscence of how they have come by their success.
Martin is visiting Mary at the tenement house she shares with Maeve. In the "Love Duet," Martin awkwardly proposes marriage to Mary, who is surprised to be the object of his desire instead of Maeve. Mary is persuaded to accept.
The following day, Nate encounters Martin on the street. Under the impression that Martin has stepped aside out of friendship for him, Nate vows undying loyalty to Martin in "Brothers." Martin reciprocates the promise.
As the song ends, a crisis is unfolding on Wall Street. In "Black Friday," traders in the stock exchange gold room bid up the price of gold. Unaware that the government is about to sell gold, Fisk orders his men to keep bidding higher. The government sale breaks the corner; a shattered Jim moans to Jay that they are ruined; Jay then makes a surprising announcement. End of Act I.
From Act 2:
Sedalia, Missouri, 1886. Martin Irons sings "Song for the Knights of Labor" at a meeting of that organization called to decide how to react to unfair treatment of workers on Gould’s Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Erik Bryan as Martin Irons
James Sena as Jay Gould
Neika Clemens as Mary Brown
Robert Tiffany as Jim Fisk
Thadd Krueger as Terence Powderly
Jeff Hodur as Nate Travers
Emily Sorensen as Josie Mansfield
Anne Terze-Schwarz as Prissy Applegate
Amy Sue Hardy as Maeve O'Hanlon
Chorus: Mark Arnest, Amy Sue Hardy, Jeff Hodur, Jeff Marshall, Gene McHugh, John Mitchell, Karen Mitchell, Nancy Poffenbarger, Danine Schell, Emily Sorensen, Robert Tiffany, David Tovey, Logan Webber
Music by Mark Arnest / Lyrics by Lauren Arnest
Produced by Mark Arnest / Vocal recording and editing by John Mitchell, JM Audio Engineering