Guest Notes: Tom O’Keefe

Guest Notes: Tom O’Keefe


I’m starting to reconsider the title of this guest blog. It sounds like maybe this blog will be a sample of my failed stabs at poetry. Such as a particularly somber one written during a cold and bitter New York winter when I was alone and reconsidering some life choices . . . “the cold wind squeezes through the window’s crack and whispers ‘regret.’”

But “Dark Days” is really just a reference to our days off here at the Pioneer Theatre Company. For you non-theater folk: when a show is running there is one day of the week when there is no show – here at Pioneer it’s Sunday. So Sunday the theater is “dark.” It also means that our day off during the week is Sunday. Are you with me?

Here’s a sample of what myself and some of the other Curious Incident cast did on our days off. Welcome to our DARK DAYS. (Cue spooky music. Or don’t)


The lovely and talented Carianne Jones (a SLC native and Pioneer alum) took me and fellow cast members Michael Keyloun and John Ford-Dunker on a hike up to Willow Lake. I may have sweated and groaned and questioned my prior evening’s activities on the way up but it was worth it because when we got up to the lake WE SAW A MOOSE! Swimming. WE SAW A SWIMMING MOOSE. There were ducks too. And a whole lotta noisy cricket-type flying critters. And a group of hikers behind us adamantly yelling at another group of chatty hikers in the woods in front of us to “Hey, be quiet .. there’s a moose.” But the moose won the day. We named her Beatrice.

Beatrice bathes. Without shame.


On our second Sunday, Michael and I joined fellow cast mates Melissa Miller and Harrison Bryan for a hike up the City Creek Trail. We didn’t see any moose, which is probably best as we did pass a passel of young men in camouflage toting composite bows. I don’t know what they were hunting that day ON A HIKING TRAIL and frankly I was a bit too freaked out to ask. At one point Harrison and Melissa headed back down the City Creek trail as Michael and I huffed and puffed our way up Little Black Mountain for a better view. The view was worth the trip, especially as we got to see Melissa and Harrison and Harrison’s umbrella as they made their way down. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about Harrison’s umbrella. He finished the hike Mary-Poppins-style.

Harrison Bryan, with the white umbrella, and Melissa Miller.


Our cast-mate Sam Bruce and her super dog Bat Girl took Michael and John and me on a gorgeous hike here. It was stunning. We also got to play a game of “avoid the mountain bikes lest you fall off the path and tumble down the mountain.” We met the world’s angriest Chihuahua and her charmingly unfriendly owner. And as we were coming back down the trail I heard the unmistakable chords of the Harry Potter theme. I thought I might be having a stroke until John confessed he had heard it as well. Peering through the trees we found the source: a pair of Muggles getting married. And they were riding a moose! (They weren’t really riding a moose).

John Ford-Dunker, Sam Bruce, Batgirl the Wonder Dog and Michael Keyloun.


My brilliant, beautiful, hilarious, far-too-good-for-me wife, Katherine, came up for opening weekend. I rewarded her for her journey by taking her on a hike that nearly killed us. We thought we were taking a “moderate hike along the beautiful Davis Creek.” We ended up taking a steep, rocky and often-times harrowing hike on the ridge far above Davis Creek because this guy doesn’t know how to read a trail map. We made it back without injury – I’m discounting some aches and pains, and Katherine is still talking to me, so all is well.

If you look real close, you can see Davis Creek down below. Don’t get too close.


Last week Amanda Bowen, PTC’s fantastic company manager, took a group of us up to Snowbird for Oktoberfest. That’s right, Oktoberfest, in September. AND IT WAS SNOWING! And we had beer. And pretzels. And brats. And polka. And we got mugs that we hope won’t break in our luggage when we head back to New York. Here’s a pic of our frosty mugs holding our frosty mugs.

Me, Michael Keyloun and John Ford-Dunker.


Many of these Sunday excursions ended with brunch. Truth be told, most of these excursions were simplY excuses to justify our later brunching. On one such occasion I had the Waffle & Whiskey with Fried Chicken at Rye Diner. THEY JUST PUT THE FRIED CHICKEN ON TOP! It was magical. Yes. MAGICAL. I’m kind of at a loss for words to describe that meal beyond “magical.” One day, though, I’ll find the right words and put them in a poem. A delicious poem. Mmmm waffle poem.

Behold Rye’s Waffle & Whiskey with Fried Chicken. You see that butter on the bottom? That butter is the silent hero of this meal.


This is our last week of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time at Pioneer and it has been a fantastic experience. Thanks, Salt Lake City. Thanks, Pioneer. Thanks, reader, for making it to the bottom of this ridiculous little report. Thanks, Beatrice. You’ll be moosed.