"Drew Keil portrays the drunken, troubled, but wonderfully articulate writer who led the Beat Generation in this unusual and insightful audio drama. Opening in Northport, Long Island, in 1964 and recorded, in part, at one of Kerouac's favorite bars, the story hitchhikes its way back and forth through Kerouac's life, blending recollections of his youth, his life on the road, and his discomfort with his own celebrity. Ambient acoustics, sparing use of sound effects, and music featuring Dave Brubeck, Hank Williams, and Mel Torme help create a touching collage of the writer's life. Ed Dennehy, who directed the stage version of the play, portrays the flamboyant psychedelic prankster Neal Cassady, and Sonya Tannenbaum plays Kerouac's mother. Len Cariou, portraying a journalist biographer, narrates."
- Steve Steinbeck, AudioFile
"It was a fine production and deserves the award. Glad we aired it."
- Frank Stasio - The State of Things, WUNC-Radio
"It is terrific, engaging from beginning to end ... [I] thoroughly enjoyed the play and we wanted to hear more. I was sorry when it ended."
- Alphie McCourt, Author
"It's amazing how your radio play has left almost a visual, but definitely visceral impression on my head! It was truly remarkable. Malachy (McCourt) and meself were totally transported. I could smell the bar, see the dark oak wood and smell the liquor through your vivid descriptions and the characters were so flushed out. A good laugh at times, even with all the tragedy...but that's really what makes it so poignant. Congrats on an excellent play!"
- Clodagh Bowyer, Actress
"Great writing, excellent audio mix and effects... a superb piece of work."
- Tom Lopez, The ZBS Foundation
"Listening to "Jack's Last Call" struck a chord with
me. It brought me back to my early childhood, listening to stories on the radio.
I felt as though I were an insider, actually there with Jack Kerouac, sharing
his innermost thoughts. I always thought of him as a great writer, but never, as
you portrayed him, as an ordinary man, struggling with so much insecurity and
unhappiness. I couldn't help but get emotionally involved. There's an
indescribable haunting quality about the piece, his mother, his
father, the people around him, and Gunther's. Wow! Great
- Paul Doyle, author
"Hot Shots and Heavy Hits"
"The production [is] first rate: I loved the period feel of the music and the ambience of Gunther's that you established so deftly. I thought the piece was well conceived, directed and played.
I was especially pleased by Len Cariou's narration: he played the character well, got the dialect right, and his confidential tone in the opening, as though he were confiding a private story to a close friend at one end of a crowded bar, was spot-on.
The overall sound of the show was splendid. The whole thing made me want to go back and read more Kerouac. You and Patrick Fenton have done him, and us, a valuable service by bring him alive in audio. Brava!"
- Norm Dietz, Audiobook Narrator
"Playwright Patrick Fenton based his script on recordings of Kerouacís final conversations with friends [who he met] at Guntherís Bar in Northport. Itís written with emotion and such attention to detail that the monologues are reminiscent of a Kerouac novel."
- Andrea Paquin, Lowell Sun
"This play shows Jack at a difficult time in his life, and it does it with a rare understanding of how he tried to deal with the dilemma of unwanted celebrity while finding a way to continue pursuing his goals as an author. Fenton has created a moving portrait of a unique artist, rather than another dreary Beat stereotype. Bravo!"
- David Amram, Composer
"A great example of true audio theater, this production combines strong writing, great acting and original music in a raw portrayal of a Kerouac we'd rather not believe existed. As someone who read On the Road and was bought into the Kerouac mythology in my teenage years, it's a great tribute and a celebration, even in its darkness.
I'm admittedly a radio drama junkie, and I love the on-location recording and crisp effects as much as the story....you'll find much to love out of this offbeat honorific. Just be prepared to reaffirm the merits of your mainstream life rahther than to be inspired to ditch it all for a wild ride on the road by the end of it all."
- Fred Greenhalgh, Host of Radio Drama Revival!, WMPG, Portland, Maine
"Quite possibly one of the best audio dramas I have heard in a long while. But not only is it a testament to Jack, it's also a testament to a great director. Likewise kudos need to go to Patrick Fenton, who wrote a brutally honest look at a great mind and representative of a generation who turned his back on...well, everything.
Somebody once told me that I made the "how-to" of an audio piece sound like "walking through a minefield." [If] one part falls flat, be it the acting, the sound effects, the editing, whatever, the whole piece falls flat. Here is a play where everything falls into place perfectly. Truly, this one I can't recommend enough."