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'Pump Boys and Dinettes' is fun and entertaining

 


As Joshua Carter, in his role as "Jim" states right at the outset of "Pump Boys and Dinettes," this isn't "My Fair Lady, is it'?" It certainly is not that - it's not really even a musical in the traditional sense of the word. What it is, however, is a high energy, rollicking fun concert, set in the imaginary Pump Boys gas station/repair shop, connected to the Double Cupp diner. The actors/musicians (they all play a variety of instruments) are having such a good time that anyone watching would be hard-pressed not to get in the spirit as well.

The inspiration for this musical is based on a country-western music show that ran for years in the lounge of the Cattleman restaurant, west of Grand Central in New York City. When the two musicians, Jim Wann and Mark Hardwick decided to take on the persona of gas station attendants, they were fired. The two formed a band, joined by John Foley, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan and John Schimmel ... and Pump Boys and Dinettes was launched. The show premiered on Broadway in 1982, and ran for over a year before productions spread to London and Chicago. The director of this local production of Pump Boys and Dinettes, Brandon Ivey, says this about it "It has been one of the most organic rehearsal rooms I've been in. Having a room full of really smart actors who are also musicians on a show that's pretty open to interpretation has been thrilling. It's more like a garage band rehearsal than a traditional musical theater rehearsal."

Ivey's cast is beyond talented. All of them have exceptional acting experience and some have awards to prove it. They are all accomplished musicians and vocalists, and know how to engage the audience. Joshua Carter, as Jim, is sweet, fun-loving and plays a mean guitar; Levi Kreis, as L.M is outstanding on the piano;, both Sara Porkalob and Sylvie Davidson as Rhetta and Prudie Cupp are energetic and have beautiful voices; and Michael Feldman's 'Elvis' persona and song about Mona is fun. Though she speaks not a single line, Olivia D. Hamilton as Eddie won our hearts by playing her upright string bass upside down. There is a nice balance in this production between upbeat, fun songs and slower ballads - my favorite being 'Sister' sung by the Dinettes.

Go see this production. Tap your feet, clap along and have some good, light-hearted fun.

Pump Boys and Dinettes runs through Nov. 20 at Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave, Everett. Evening shows run Wednesday through Sunday; matinees on weekends and on Thursday, Nov. 17. For ticket information go to http://www.villagetheater.org/everett, or call 425-257-8600.

 

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