October 21, 2009, marked the 40th anniversary of the passing of one of
America's great literary figures - Jack Kerouac, best known for his seminal
novel On the Road.
In tribute to the writer, a return performance of an original play about
his last night on Long Island took place at Gunther's Tap Room, a
saloon where the once Northport resident drank and played pool in during
the early 60s on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 2:00pm.
The one-act play, Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac, written by Massapequa playwright, Pat Fenton, was directed by Huntington's Ed Dennehy, and begins
in Gunther's Bar.
It's the end of summer in 1964. A
major cultural shift is starting to happen in the US, and on his last night in
Northport, the America Jack Kerouac saw through a rear view mirror, riding along
side his road partner Neal Cassady, is slowly playing again in his mind. Long
after a small going away party that he has thrown for himself is over, Jack
keeps on drinking as he prepares to move to Florida with his mother, Memere. He reflects
back on his fame, his youth as a football star in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the
worry that his time has come and gone. As he sums up parts of his life to the
audience in a bittersweet narrative, he receives a series of soul-searching
phone calls from his daughter Jan.
As part of the
celebration and tribute, some stories of his time in Gunther's were also
shared. Peter Gunther, a friend of Kerouac's, and the owner of the
bar, recalled that one night "when Jack was broke he gave me as a tip, a
signed first edition of one of his books, 'Visions of Gerard.'"
Regretfully, not realizing its future value, he says, "I don't remember
who it was, but I gave it away to someone."
featured Drew Keil as Jack Kerouac; Sue Anne Dennehy as his daughter
Jan; Ed Dennehey as Neal Cassady; Jack O'Connell as Leo Kerouac; Phyllis
March as Memere Kerouac; and Stephen Ryan as the Reporter who is
telling Jack's story. Sound design for this production is by Sue Zizza
of SueMedia Productions with additional mixing and on-site audio
engineering by David Shinn and Marc Weiner. Live sound effects by Butch
From The Show...
Producer Sue Zizza and Playwright Pat fenton
Drew Keil as Jack Kerouac
Jack O'Connell as Leo Kerouac
Copyright 2008-2009 SueMedia Productions . Cast and Crew portraits and on-location photos throughout the site by Mark W. Beckerman. Additional photos by Stewart Hamilton and Bob Harrison.