Most Americans know that song, The Yellow Rose of Texas. Yet few people know that the song was inspired by a real person. Emily West, a biracial former slave, is shunned in 1830s New England by black and white society because of her skin color, called in her day “high yellow.”
In 1836, Emily—the legendary Yellow Rose—flees to Texas (then part of Mexico) to find freedom but lands in Galveston just as the Texas War of Independence breaks out. She is soon caught up in a love triangle with two men who want to win her at any cost, including the charismatic Santa Anna, President of Mexico. The heart-wrenching decision Emily makes turns the tide of that war and changed the course of history.
This two-act musical, with a running time of 2:20 (with intermission), features a strong, biracial female lead with a cast of 24 that may be the first to truly represent the diversity found in today’s America: 1/3 Black, 1/3 Latiné, and 1/3 White. Yellow Rose weaves together these three cultures that forged modern Texas, three cultures headed for a collision course on a battlefield in Texas in April, 1836. Although rooted in history, this epic musical explores important themes of racial and gender injustice, issues as challenging today as they were in Emily’s time.