The Shooting Of Dan McGrew
(Based on the poem by Robert W. Service)
Music & Lyrics by Jim Betts
Book by John Bertram

Originally developed by The Group Of Several and The Banff Centre, 1982
Produced by Theatre Network, Edmonton, 1983
Produced at The Charlottetown Festival, 1993
Produced at Theatre Orangeville, 1996
Ontario Tour, 1998
Some songs incorporated into
Smile Theatre’s The Legend Of Dan McGrew, 2013

The show tells the “true” story of what happened that famous night at
The Malamute Saloon, including what led up to, and what followed, the infamous shootout.

The show requires 10 Lead Actors (7M/3F), plus an Ensemble.


Bull’s-Eye Bill: a.k.a. William J. Newton, a walking chamber of commerce, both for Dawson City and for himself. Noted for his grandiose tales and his vast array of highly suspect “business” ventures.

Dan McGrew: The elder of the McGrew brothers. His reputed deeds have earned him the name “Dangerous Dan” in local folktales. Smooth and confident, he has lived his life looking out for Number 1, but is not without a sense of loyalty for the few people who’ve become close to him.

Harry Dolan: A villain from Skagway, Alaska, looking to bring his evil ways into law-abiding Dawson. Wealthy, sinister, and a self-styled ladies man. A man used to getting his own way.

Slim & Red: Two of Dolan’s less competent henchmen (though Red is not quite as slow-witted as Slim). Physically, they are the opposites of what their nicknames would imply.

Lou:   A warm and strikingly attractive woman, with an independent mind. She has left behind a comfortable but cloistered existence to seek adventure and excitement in the Yukon, but tends to leap before she looks. She has become romantically involved with…

Jack McGrew: A strong, hard-working miner. Though once closely associated with Dangerous Dan, he is now determined to build a respectable life for himself as far from his infamous brother as possible. Jack is generally soft-spoken, but can also be stubborn and quick-tempered.

Clancy: A young constable in the North-West Mounted Police. Well-meaning, honest, and idealistic, though sometimes just a trifle over-earnest and under-qualified. (There is a red-haired “Constable Clancy” featured in a Robert Service poem)

Gertie Montgomery: A flamboyant, boisterous, and raucous woman, similar in age to Dan and apparently very well-off financially. Her favourite pastimes are poker, good cigars, and trying to snare Bull’s-Eye Bill into a wedding.

Belinda: A rough-hewn, feisty tomboy in her early adolescence. She is “spunky”, often to the point of rudeness.

The Prospector: An elderly gold-seeker.

Chorus: (optional) Assorted miners, dance-hall girls, and townspeople.

Songs Include:

“Dawson City” (COMPANY)
“Dangerous Dan McGrew” (LOU)
“Only A River Away” (LOU)
“By The Book” (CLANCY)
“Poker Is The Game Of Life” (GERTIE, DAN & COMPANY)
“We Take Our Chances” (DAN)
“The Bachelor Life” (SLIM, RED, CLANCY, BULL’S-EYE – Barbershop Quartet)
“The Midnight Sun” (JACK)
“The Dollar Waltz” (LOU)
“This Journey” (COMPANY)
“Nobody Loves To Hate Us” (SLIM & RED)
“Why Should A Woman?” (BELINDA)
“By A Hair” (DAN)