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Mike Craver
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In present day Dodge City Kansas, a young woman named Lynn is about to open a bed and breakfast on the site of the old Gaiety Saloon and Hotel. As she puts the finishing touches on the Gaiety and welcomes her first guest, an itinerant musician named Ollie, a few larger than life characters are resuscitated from the dust of Dodge City's historic past, including notorious gun-slinger 'Mysterious Dave Mather', 'fancy lady' Fannie Mae Garretson, Shakespearian tragedian Frederick Forsythe Fosdick III, and a mild mannered undertaker named Mould. A group of musicians from the old days also mysteriously appears and accompanies our unexpected visitors through a series of songs and recollections as they re-live their heady past during Dodge's infamous heyday, and also their unresolved feelings toward one another. Lynn and Ollie discover that they are also linked to that past, and to each other.

"BOSH AND MOONSHINE" is a one set musical. Scored for piano accompaniment. All six characters sing. Songs include "The Beautiful Bibulous Babylon," "The Ballad of Mysterious Dave Mather" (also known as "Lemon Silk Drawers") -- "The Scoundrels of the West," "In the Bottom of the Leadville Mines," "He Was Always Known As The Undertakers' Friend". "The Great Cimarron Cyclone", "Shining Down", "When I Was A Little Wee Babe", and "Butterfield Stage", are included on Mike's CD SHINING DOWN (2002). Other songs from this musical, and three more, are included in Mike's CD BOSH & MOONSHINE (2013).

for more information about "Bosh & Monnshine"

Profile from the WICHITA EAGLE
pix from KS
Pix from IL

THE BELLE OF THE WABASH, a second companion piece to BOSH AND MOONSHINE, with the same core characters, premiered in May of 2010.
SARAH BERNHARDT IN TEXAS, a third companion piece to BOSH AND MOONSHINE, with the same core characters, premiered in May of 2011.
OKLAHOMA HALE & DAMNATION, a fourth companion piece to BOSH AND MOONSHINE, with the same core characters, premiered in May of 2012.
THE QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS, a fifth companion piece to BOSH AND MOONSHINE, with the same core characters, premiered in Sept. of 2013.

BOSH AND MOONSHINE production history:

"BOSH AND MOONSHINE" premiered at The Boot Hill Repertory Company, in Dodge City, Kansas, October l998. "BOSH AND MOONSHINE" was directed by Don Steele, and featured Karen Carroll, Mike Craver, Kyle Hager, Jim Johnson, Mark Mahieu, and Marci Williams. With Kent Ross, Chad Mickey and Alan Stukenholtz. Stage Manager was Deanna Johnston, Costumes by Dee Miller, and lights by Paul Marshall.

The most recent production of BOSH and MOONSHINE was by the Mighty Richland Players of Orangeville, IL, in May of 2009. The show opened at the Mighty Richland Players Theatre, Orangeville, IL, and toured to theatres in Galena and Stockton. Cast members included Peter Woodruff (Mysterious Dave Mather), Terrie Miller (Fannie Mae Garrettson), Josh Ryan (Ollie O'Leary), Emily Evans (Lynn), Liz Garche, Jane Van Hamme, and Terri Jackman (Harvey Girls), Phil Jackman (Fosdick), and Mike Craver (Mould). Produced by J.C. Buford and directed by Paula Fulton. The band included Sheri Novak (piano), Carl and Joan Sanford (bass and guitar) and John Buford (drums and harmonica). Lights ands sound by A.J. Adams, and assistant director was Kevin Sullivan. Profile in THE MONROE TIMES

"BOSH AND MOONSHINE" -- A musical by Mike Craver.Journal Standard, Freeport, IL -- show and author profile

Author and musician Mike Craver wrote "Bosh and Moonshine at the Gaiety Saloon" for the Boot Hill Repertory Company.

By Diane Lewis, The Wichita Eagle, 10/4/98

When North Carolinian Mike Craver first saw the restored hotel in the far western Kansas town of Cimarron, he got the inspiration for his latest musical comedy, "Bosh and Moonshine at the Gaiety Saloon."

Thursday, the Boot Hill Repertory Company in Dodge City will open its 16th season by staging the world premiere of "Bosh and Moonshine." Performances continue through Oct. 31.

Craver wrote "Bosh and Moonshine" for the Dodge City community theatrical bnmatgs.jpg - 65524 Bytes group.

A longtime performer, Craver has written and collaborated on a number of popular off-Broadway and regional theater shows --"Radio Gals", "Oil City Symphony" and "Smoke on the Mountain." Craver has appeared in numerous productions of the shows, as he's doing in Dodge City.

"I always seem to write a part for myself," he said in a telephone interview from Dodge City. He had not intended to perform, but, heck, his character has a couple of good songs, so he cast himself.

Craver has been in Dodge since late August, first to fine-tune the show, then to rehearse.

Set in contemporary Dodge City, "Bosh and Moonshine" tells the story of a young woman who has taken out a loan and turned a landmark hotel into a bed-and-breakfast. As she does the last-minute cleaning before the grand opening, the vacuum cleaner explodes, and out the dust step several early Dodge residents.

The past and present meet head-on and the spirits from the past discover that they have unfinished business to attend to. Key to the story is the tale of Dora Hand, who was accidentally shot while sleeping at the mayor's house in 1878.

A North Carolinian who toured with The Red Clay Ramblers for a dozen years, then worked in New York for 10 more, Craver first came to Kansas in May 1997 to see the repertory company's production of "Radio Gals." Boot Hill was the first theater to get the rights to the show after it closed off-Broadway.

It was the first time Craver and two other cast members [Klea Blackhurst and Emily Mikesell] who came west had seen it as audience members. "We had been in it about a zillion times," Craver said.

"I stayed for five days. Don took me to Cimarron and to the Cimarron Hotel," he said referring to Don Steele, director of the rep company. He met the people at the rep company and visited Garden City, Jetmore and High Plains Public Radio.

Western Kansas, especially around Cimarron, is, in Craver's words, "unusual, especially to someone from the East." Craver now lives in Lexington, N.C., which bills itself as the barbecue capital of the world.

"I just farm myself out," Craver said in a soft drawl. He performs in regional theaters and does productions of "Oil City" and "Radio Gals" and also does some writing.

It was during that trip in 1997 that Steele broached the possibility of Craver writing a show for his repertory company. Steele wanted, Craver said, "something with cowboy songs in it. But he basically gave me free rein to write about what I wanted to."

Two of the characters in the play really did live in Dodge City -- Mysterious Dave Mather, a gunslinger, and Fannie Mae Garretson, a saloon singer. Fannie Mae, Craver said, was with Dora Hand the night she was shot.

Craver did most of the research for the play at the public library in Lexington. He relied on the Time-Life series on the West, especially one part of the series called "The Townsmen." He also got information from the state historical society.

For the past year he has been working on the play off and on and writing some 18 songs -- words and music -- for it. This is the first show he has written without a collaborator.

"I'm basically a musician," he said. "That's how I've made my living most of my life." In this show, he plays an accordion "a little." He also plays a dour undertaker, Rev. Mould.

Craver's shows are typically about small towns that could be anyone's hometown. "Smoke on the Mountain" (he did musical arrangements) takes place in rural North Carolina. In "Oil City Symphony," four high school alumni return to give a concert in honor of a beloved teacher. "Radio Gals" is about an independent radio station operated by a woman in Arkansas in the '20s.

He doesn't know if "Bose and Moonshine" will fly in other theaters. When he first started writing it, he thought he wanted it to. Today, he's less certain.

"I don't know the answer to that yet. It is about Dodge City. But Dodge City is a place that's known to a lot of people through the television show and the old Westerns. It could be done by other places, but I'm not trying to put that kind of burden on it."

"I just want it to be enjoyed by the people here. If there's anything beyond that, well and good. If there isn't, that's fine, too."

His approach to this show has been different, too. "With the other shows, the goal was always to do it in New York. That's the final role for people who write musicals.

"This is something I've done for here. Other than that, I don't have any long-range plans for it. I like that about it. It takes a lot of the pressure off a part of me."

He's more relaxed, he said, because New York is not the aim.

Craver described the music as "Old West music hall." And it's not low-brow, either. "Cowboys and people out West actually had a penchant for Shakespeare and serious drama and arty music, as well as the gaudy saloon stuff that people generally associate with the West." There also are ballads and pieces that sound like Gilbert and Sullivan.

"The place was just dripping with history and the spirits of people who had lived there," Craver said of his 1997 visit to the Cimarron Hotel, built in 1888. "I could see how you could conjure up some spooks here. Good ones, not evil ones. But benevolent ones. Standing in that lobby, I just got the idea of for that show."

Owner and operator Kathleen Holt was his inspiration, he said. She has created a Victorian look for the old hotel. "I just got the idea for doing a show about somebody who had done that sort of thing and was haunted by the spirits of the past."

Further, Craver is intrigued by the fact that Dodge City is only 120 years old. "The history seems just that much closer to you.

"These people from history -- they really did lead an intense, hard kind of life. They tried to make the best of it. I guess that's why I'm interested in what they did artistically."

In addition to saloons that sometimes featured classical music and orchestras, places like Dodge City had theaters, touring performers, performances of Shakespeare and more. In the midst of a harsh climate, Craver observed, "they tried to maintain a level of sophistication and culture, and a lot of it was pretty high-toned. It's not quite the way it's been portrayed by Hollywood and television."

Original Playbill
1888 D.C. Times review contributed by the honorable Lloyd Shinn

Photograph: "Mysterious Dave Mather, Gunslinger and Lawman"



last updated: Oct. 5, 2020