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River's End

Book and Lyrics by Cheryl Coons  •  Music by Chuck Larkin
ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award
Bay Area Theatre Critics Awards for
Best Original Script and
Best Original Score

About River's End

River’s End is based on the true story of newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde, who vanished on their daredevil honeymoon in the Grand Canyon in 1928. Their dream was to earn a place in the record books by running the entire length of the Colorado River in a wooden boat they built themselves, then create a vaudeville act based on their adventures to cash in on their fame.


A little over 6 weeks after they began their voyage, they disappeared. After an extensive search of the river, the couple’s scow was discovered moored in quiet water, their supplies intact. Their disappearance remains a mystery to this day-a mystery that’s greatly enhanced by the disquieting accounts of the last people to see the Hydes alive, and the emergence in the 1970’s of several women who claim to have been Bessie Hyde.

River’s End draws on all these story elements to weave together two completely different versions of the Hyde’s journey, with two different pairs of actors playing Glen and Bessie Hyde. The few clues that exist to the real-life Hyde’s personalities are interpreted differently in each couple- and the two marriages begin and end the show in drastically different states. The stories are narrated by two Colorado river guides, Kent, a middle aged river rat, and Georgie, an eccentric, reclusive older woman. These two also play the roles of the various people the Hydes encountered on their trip.

The show has a cast of six, and is currently scored for piano, violin and upright bass.


The authors gratefully acknowledge Brad Dimock, whose excellent book about the Hydes, Sunk Without a Sound: the Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde (Fretwater Press 2001) supplied a wealth of factual information for this fictional account. 

For more information about Sunk Without a Sound and Glen and Bessie Hyde, please visit:




Cheryl Coons (Book and Lyrics) has co-written more than a dozen musicals which have received professional productions, including At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), River’s End(ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Original Script and Best Original Score), Sylvia’s Real Good Advice (Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work), Female Problems (After Dark Award for Best Music and Lyrics), and Phantom of the Country Opera, published by Music Theater International. Her work has appeared on the stages of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Florida Stage, Marin Theatre Company, Marriott's Lincolnshire Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and Pegasus Theatre. A revue of her work, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda: The Lyrics of Cheri Coons was produced at the Royal George Theater,and was honored as one of Chicago’s 10 Best Cabaret Shows of the year by Cabaret Scenes magazine, Gay Chicago, and Cabaret Online. Her original novelty songs have been featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and NPR’S Morning Edition, and her lyrics have been quoted in The New York Times and USA Today. Her songs have been performed and/or recorded by cabaret artists including Tom Anderson, McKinley Carter, Joan Curto, Sara Davis, Sharon McKnight, Lisa Menninger, Beckie Menzie, Tom Michael, Bob Mason, Stephen Rader, and Kat’ Taylor. Cheri has appeared with collaborator Beckie Menzie at Carnegie Hall, performing their original material in an evening hosted by Michael Feinstein. A fixture in the Chicago Cabaret scene since the 1980’s, she was a founding member of the acclaimed vocal trio, The Pumps, and appeared as a featured soloist in many Chicago venues, including the Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel and the Metropole at the Fairmont Hotel. Visit Cheryl for more.


Chuck Larkin (Music) has written songs, scores and incidental music for a variety of cabaret performers and musical theatre productions. In addition to his work on River's End, a collection of his songs was named Chicago's #1 After Dark Cabaret Show of 2000, and he has performed his work in the ASCAP/MAC songwriter showcase in New York, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and onstage at Carnegie Hall in "Now and Then", a salute to contemporary songwriters.

The Music

Only The River KnowsMusic by Chuck Larkin, Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
00:00 / 02:18
One Last RideMusic by Chuck Larkin, Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
00:00 / 00:36
The World He SeesMusic by Chuck Larkin, Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
00:00 / 00:48
My Love Is a RiverMusic by Chuck Larkin, Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
00:00 / 01:24
Still WatersMusic by Chuck Larkin, Lyrics by Cheryl Coons
00:00 / 01:32
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