Once I Lived In Cottonwood • A Musical

Once I Lived In Cottonwood • A Musical

Book and Lyrics by John D. Rather and Susan Rather

Music by Lynn G. Burton

Available for Wards, and Stakes and Community Groups or Professionals

Shortly after the first company of pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham Young began calling the new arrivals to settle towns throughout the West. Given a choice, most of them would have stayed in the Salt Lake Valley. Harder yet, after having started a home in the valley, was being called to start over again away from Salt Lake. Perhaps the hardest of all was being called to Dixie in Southern Utah. Cottonwood is about one family’s feelings when being asked to leave their home in Cottonwood and go south to Washington County. In a more general sense it is a story about people who, because of their allegiance to a grand cause, stronger than any commitment to personal comfort and security, experience isolation and longings for home. A sensation in it’s premiere performances at Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City, “Once I Lived In Cottonwood” is now available for production by Wards and Stakes.


  • 7male 6female + ensemble
  • Open staging
  • Pioneer Costumes
  • 2 hrs
  • ORDER #2046


  • The PERUSAL PAGES file (in PDF format) is available here: OnceILivedInCottonwood PERUSAL  (The PDF file contains Acts One & Two of this 3-act musical)


        #l    ONCE I LIVED IN COTTONWOOD    Ballad Singer
    Scene 1 – LDS Meeting House – Spring of 1863
    Scene 2 – A Pasture of Will Larson’s farm
    Scene 3 – Another pasture and the same pasture
        #2    WHAT SHALL I DO?            Tom Hicks
        #3    FEELING HUMBLE            Will Larson
    Scene    4 – A continuation of previous scene
    Scene    5 – The following day In the living room of the Larson Home.
    Scene    6 – A continuation of previous scene
        #4    WALTZ                    Bonnie & Jenny
    Scene    7 – Outside the Larson Home
        #5    THE COTTON MISSION            Finn, Robert, Fred & Friends
    Scene 8 – Somewhere on the Larson Farm
        #6    I CAN LOOK OUT TONIGHT        Jenny & Luke
    Scene 9 – Backyard of the Larson home
        #7    WANDERERS                Tom & Bonnie
    Scene 1 – The Larson Barn
        #8    SQUARE DANCE                Fred and Company
        #9    SOAP                        Fred, Will & Company
    Scene 2 – The Cooper Kitchen
        #10    MEN ARE ALL ALIKE            Bonnie, Malt & Women
    Scene 3 – An orchard
    Scene 4 The Larson Bedroom & home
        #11 NIGHTMARE MUSIC                Instrumental
        #12 WAS MISSOURI JUST A DREAM?         Bonnie & Will
    Scene 5 – Yard of the Endowment House
        #13 DOWN THE AISLE                Instrumental
    Scene 1 – “In One” – Fall of 1863
        #14 MISSOURI                    Bonnie
    Scene 2 – The Larson Front Yard
    Scene 3 – The Larson Yard
    Scene 4 – The Local LDS Ward House
        #15 WHO’D CALL FRED?                Company
    Scene 5 – The Cemetary
        #16 WANDERERS                    Bonnie, Tom, Jane, Luke, Finn & Jenny

SONG SAMPLES —  Here is THE OVERTURE to the show in a video trailer from YouTube.


  • Performance License Application: No production rights can be granted until this application is filled out and sent to us. This is a filler form that after you click “SUBMIT” will send directly to our email address. Response averages 2-3 business days.
  • Script in PDF format  — Order #2046a : $25.00 (will be sent to you by email, from which you will be authorized to make copies for your production)

  • Piano-Vocal Score — not available for this title. Use the Vocal book to sing to the PerformanceTraks.
  • Vocal Book (in PDF format) — Order #2046c : $15.00 (will be sent to you by email, from which you will be authorized to make copies for your production)

  • First Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #2046d : quoted on application (for the first or only performance)
  • Second Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #2046e : quoted on application (For each successive performance)
  • Professional Royalties will be quoted upon application
  • PerformanceTraks CD (or mp3 transfer) — included with your royalty payment (May not be distributed to anyone outside of your production’s cast and Production Staff) (Please, specify CD or electronic transfer.)
  • A special Piano-Vocal Version of WANDERERS, a duet song from this show in a new arrangement by Taylor Williams, is available as a PDF for $6.00 

EMAIL us for rights and information. Be sure to give us anticipated performance dates and the address of your group and, if different, your theatre. Please also include a contact name and phone number.


  • Premiered at The Promised Valley Playhouse, Salt Lake City — 1990


The following is how the credits should read in all programs, posters, fliers, handbills and other promotional advertising for the show:
Once I Lived In Cottonwood

Book and Lyrics by
John D. Rather and Susan Rather

Music by

Lynn G. Burton

NOTE: The names of the Playwright(s), Composer, Lyricist, and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness, and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Authors except for the title of the play.


Once I Lived In Cottonwood” is presented through special arrangement with Zion Theatricals.  All authorized materials are also supplied by ZT, www.ziontheatricals.com”

from the catalog of