Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac began life in 1995 as a stage play (Kerouac's Last Call) after author Patrick Fenton wrote an extensive story for the New York Times about Jack's last Long Island night. A performance of that early version of the play was produced in 1999 in Rockaway, NY.
In 2007, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road, Mr. Fenton decided to bring his stage play to some of Jack's favorite bars both on Long Island and in Lowell, MA.
Len Cariou and Peter Gunther at the bar
That's when I met Jack.
When director Ed Dennehy brought the play to my studio to have sound and music cues prepared for the version he was producing at Gunther's Tap Room in Northport, NY, in September 2007, I found myself drawn into Fenton's haunting portrayal of Jack and the many demons he faced. I proposed we adapt the stage play into an audio production and began working with Mr. Fenton on bringing Jack's story to wider audience through radio.
In Jack's Last Call, the story is told by both the reporter, played by Len Cariou, who unearths the deeper emotions of Kerouac's life, and by Kerouac himself, played by Drew Keil.
Mr. Fenton learned about Kerouac's final New York days through his old Northport friends at Gunther's Tap Room. Most significant was the story about a going away party Kerouac threw for himself in 1964. It wasn't until Fenton's newspaper articles, and his play Kerouac's Last Call, that fans and scholars learned about this important turning point in Kerouac's life.
Master Engineer David Shinn on location
Peter Gunther with Jack Cast Members
To capture the spirit of Kerouac, his friends, and the place he called his home away from home for many years, sections of this play were recorded on location at Gunther's Tap Room on Main Street in Northport, NY. Built in the 1940s, Gunther's Tap Room still sports its original decor and jukebox.
Sue Zizza, Director / Executive Producer March 2007