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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) 
Cheryl is an award-winning librettist and lyricist who has co-written more than a dozen musicals, including River’s End (ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theatre Award, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Original Script and Score, Theatre for the American Musical Award, NAMT and NYMF), At Wit’s End (Carbonell Award for Best New Work), Sylvia’s Read 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 Theatre International. She contributed lyrics to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s productions of Merry Wives of Windsor and Measure for Measure. Her musicals have been developed and showcased at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Music Theatre Conference, and the National Alliance of Musical Theater’s Festival of New Works, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Projects she’s written have twice been selected for the ASCAP Workshops in Los Angeles and Chicago. Cheryl has appeared at Carnegie Hall, performing her original material in an evening sponsored by ASCAP and hosted by Michael Feinstein. She serves on the National Council of the Dramatists Guild, the professional trade association for playwrights, lyricists and librettists.


Chuck Larkin (Music) 
Chuck 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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