Thursday, June 28, 2007


[Image courtesy Scott Graham]

1975: Calamity Jane

Jon Stainbrook, Bette Zimmerman, John Briggs, Kathy Stainbrook, Chris Beasley, Nancy Stainbrook.

Nancy Stainbrook and Scott Graham.

I remember that rock shop next to the theater in 1976. It was gone when I came back in 1979.

[Images courtesy Scott Graham]

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Jon Stainbrook's favorite actor.

As always, click on the image for a bigger picture.

[Image courtesy of Scott Graham]

Scotty Graham

Scott Graham was a Dirty Jackster from 1975 to '77. I knew him in '76 during the Paint Your Wagon season, and he was the nicest, kindest person in the entire show. I exchanged a few emails with him today, and I told him I heard he became a lawyer. Here is what he wrote back:

"Yeah, I'm still acting--I'm a lawyer in St. Cloud, MN. Married. Two daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson (9 months and very handsome, smart and athletic) I've been in St. Cloud for about 19 years now. 30 years ago I would have laughed in your face if you'd told me what I'd be doing now. Oh well, I guess my younger daughter is taking over for me. She's a bit of an outlaw--arrested in Olympia for protesting the war (case dismissed for prosecutorial misconduct) and she's off to South and Central America to study globalization and it's effects on indigenous societies."
Scott also sent me some beatutiful photos from the 1975 show at Dirty Jack's, Calamity Jane. The pics are sensational, and I will post them soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dirty Jack's on eBay

Check this out. I found DJ's memorabilia on eBay.

The seller says the T-shirt is from the 80's. The back of the shirt says "You'll DIE Laughing." What show is it from? The design looks like it might be from the 1979 show, Phantom Of The Opera House. I was in that show but I do not recall these T-shirts. Which, of course, might prove only that my memory is bad.

The guy wants 15 bucks for the shirt plus $8.00 shipping; kinda steep. Judging by the photos the shirt is WAY too small for me. Still, I haven't decided yet if I'll click the Buy It Now button...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kathy Stainbrook in "Shane," 1953

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I found this on the web. Apparently, Jon and Nancy took the show Cat Ballou on the road to Wichita, Kansas after it closed in Jackson. Or did they just sell the script?

A musical stage version of the Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin picture first performed in Jackson Hole, WY and in this production in a dinner theatre in Wichita, KS.

UPDATE: The Crown Dinner Theater opened in 1977, so that piqued my interest. However, I emailed the actor, MJJ Cashman, and found out their production of Cat Ballou was in 2005. Cashman told me the producer, Ted Morris, had seen the show at Dirty Jack's Theater in Jackson Hole and obtained the rights to Jon and Nancy's musical adaptation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Letters

Here is a scan of the letter Jon Stainbrook sent to Sean Richarz to inform him he had gotten the gig.

Click on the letter for a bigger image.

I remember how stoked I was when I received the same letter at about the same time. Sixty Five bucks a week plus room and board! Heck, I would have paid money to join the band at Dirty Jack’s. I felt like a rock star. Thank you, Jon.

Can you hear Jon’s voice as you read this letter? I can. He must have known – sending out all these letters in 1976 – how excited it made each of us. Jon was excited, too… I can hear it in the letter. Greasepaint, footlights, waves of laughter swelling toward the stage. Jon was excited, too. He was just as excited as we were.

[image courtesy Sean Richarz]

Monday, June 18, 2007

Any Which Way You Can

I was clicking through the cable channels the other day and saw this:

Dirty Jack’s Theater on the Big Screen! Do you remember the movie Any Which Way You Can? Part of it was filmed in Jackson Hole in the fall of 1980.

I like the picture above because I watched this scene being filmed. Prudy and I stood on the lawn across from Dirty Jack's. Eastwood was running past us in the shot.

There are lots of cool views of Jackson in the movie. You gotta watch around the action in the film to catch it. The movie is hokey but really funny; a lot like the shows at Dirty Jack’s Theater.

I also like this shot of the old Teton Motel, now long gone. This was the place Jon Stainbrook housed many of the actors and musicians who worked in the 1979 show. I lived there all summer; swam in the pool; annoyed the other guests with my loud car stereo playing Poco and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

I remember knowing friends who hired on as extras for the movie, but as I scan the crowd scenes I don’t yet see any faces I recognize. But watching this is a toboggan ride down memory hill. The memories flash by. It was fun watching it again.

UPDATE: A few more screen grabs from the movie.

There's Tom DeWester on the left!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

David Abrams

David Abrams was in the cast of the ’82 and ’83 shows at Dirty Jack’s Theater. He is now a soldier in Iraq and a very fine writer.

No matter how I may feel about the war in Iraq, I find his writings about it irresistible and compelling. You can read some of his accounts of the war here.

I exchanged emails with him a while back, and he promises to submit something for this blog when he is a little less busy; i.e. when he gets back to the states.

Good luck, David. Stay safe, come back quickly, and check in here when you think of Dirty Jack’s.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two Years

I started this blog two years ago today, and I posted a first anniversary article a year later.

One new thing I’ve added is the list you see to the right: All the shows done at Dirty Jack’s theater over its 24-year run. I need help filling in the blanks, and Tom DeWester has already responded.

I could not for the life of me remember the title of the show we did in 1979. That was a troubled year for the theater, and I was way into the bottle at that point, so it’s not too surprising the name slipped my memory (such as it is). I remembered the show was a revue with segments from several different shows, such as Cat Ballou, as well as some original scenes. I knew it had a name on the marquee, but I could not recall it. “The Phantom of the Opera House.” Yep, I remember it now. Thanks, Tom!

I was in the 76 and 79 shows, and Tim O'Reilly came back for The Hallelujah Trail in 1978, so I’m sure about those. Cat Ballou in 1975 I’m not so sure of. I think I remember hearing in ’76 that had been the show the previous year, but I’m not certain. Kathy Stainbrook, are you reading this? Rhonda? Mike? Anybody from the 70s in Jackson? Can you help me fill in the early blanks?

So, why make this list? Dirty Jack’s deserves to be memorialized. If the show averaged 200 tickets a night for 100 nights every year (and I know we averaged about twice that), it means a half million people came to see our shows. I sat in the band pit every night looking past the actors out at the audience, and I know they were well entertained. They laughed their asses off and clapped and hooted lustily at the music. Those people remember Dirty Jack’s, just like we do. Several have stopped by this blog and posted touching comments.

This blog is hosted by Blogger, which is owned by Google. It is free, so there are no payments required to keep it online. My point is this: This blog is going to be part of the Internet – in whatever form that takes – for a very long time. Many years after I am gone, it will still be in some knowledgebase somewhere. People will still be able to find it when they search for Dirty Jack’s Theater. I’d like our story to be as complete as possible.

[Oh yeah… I’ve been sober now for 2 ½ years. 900 days clean. I think I’m gonna make it. Thanks.]

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tom DeWester

I once wrote in this blog about how intimidated I was by the slick and professional show at our competitor theater, the Pink Garter, back in 1976. I just didn’t see how our raucous and bawdy production of Paint Your Wagon could compare with their impressive and colorful Molly Brown.

What I was really talking about – what I was really intimidated by – was Tom DeWester.

Tom was the best actor I had ever seen, by several orders of magnitude. He was absolutely magnetic on the stage, with great looks, deft timing, a commanding voice, and a master craftsman’s instincts. He was absolutely sensational, and the show was so perfect and impressive I wondered if anyone would come see us a few blocks away.

Tom has stayed busy on the stage, and I am not the only person he has wowed with his talent. I took a few minutes to Google Tom and found nothing but raves: (In no particular order)

Tom DeWester is Count Dracula and he out Bela Lugosies Bela Lugosi, except nobody trembles in fear when DeWester's Count is on stage. DeWester milks (bloods, perhaps) the role for all it's worth, and it's worth lots and lots of laughs. He has a fine accent, a splendid singing voice, marvelous timing (as does the entire cast) and goes for the jugular with flair - especially when the jugular belongs to a buxom blond. As the old saying goes, the way to the jugular is through... well - you get the picture. DeWester's Count is a lecherously superb comedic turn.

Tom DeWester is outstanding as the underwear tycoon. He is a voracious reader who constantly backs up his statements by saying "read" so-and-so, referring to whatever writer fits the bill. He is so funny at this I couldn't wait for him to do it again. He not only looks the part, he clearly depicts a lower class man who made good by working hard, as opposed to the aristocratic colonial administrator played by John Musgrave.

Tom DeWester is his usual wonderful self as Iago, the villainous worm who turns Othello's heart away from the ones he most loves.

Other standout performances include Rachael Lewis as Jenny, a whore and former lover of Mack, and Tom DeWester as J.J. Peachum... DeWester's voice is technically commanding...

TABARD THEATRE Company's current production of Smoke on the Mountain, the hottest regional musical in Middle America, falls somewhere between A Prairie Home Companion and A Modest Proposal in song. Tabard brings a well-suited cast to the characters of the traveling gospel-singing Sanders Family—daddy Burl (Tom DeWester)…

I am certain this list is very incomplete, but it gives you a sense of Tom DeWester’s nimble genius. He went from Dracula to an underwear tycoon to Iago to pappy Burl the Gospel singer, fer cryin’ out loud.

Tom’s gig now is teaching
second grade at a charter school. Those are some lucky kids.

I never shared a stage with Tom. He began a long and successful run at Dirty Jack’s Theater after my last season in 1979, and I think he stayed until the theater closed in the 90s. The guy is still a legend around Jackson Hole.

[Tom, I hope you don’t mind this little tribute. You are one of the most memorable people from my time in Jackson Hole, and I know you contributed a ton to the magic of Dirty Jack’s Theater.]