Momentum is gathering for a local’s dream of creating a musical based on the life of John Wesley Powell. Vernal resident Jonathan Stearmer is the Uintah County Deputy Attorney, he is a talented community theater performer, and he is working hard on his dream to make his passion project, a John Wesley Powell musical, a reality. Years ago, Stearmer began taking the John Wesley Powell journal with him anytime he and his family would explore areas on the Green or Colorado Rivers. In 2019, he realized the 150 year anniversary of John Powell’s famous expedition floating the Green and Colorado Rivers was approaching and he pitched the idea of holding a River Fest in celebration to his Uintah County co-workers who ran with it. While Stearmer takes no credit for the festival’s continued success, he is now deep in the process of writing the musical based on the life of John Wesley Powell. Stearmer approached folk singer Alan Doyle about using his music in the production and Doyle got on board. Gaining rights to the songs, however, is a long, legal process that is moving along though. As supporters of the project, the Uintah County Commission approved the terms for rights of select songs for the John Wesley Powell Musical during their Monday meeting. Originally, it was anticipated that the musical would make a 2024 debut as part of Outlaw Trail Theater ahead of the River Festival. There has not been a recent update if that timeline is on schedule but there is no doubt the musical will be a reality. This year’s John Wesley Powell River Festival is being held July 27th, 28th, and 29th.
Photot Credit Let’s Go A John Wesley Powell Story