“Pump Boys and Dinettes” at Village Theatre

Now just sit back, relax, and get ready for a trip to the hinterlands, along one of those old highways that go through small towns in the United States. In “Pump Boys and Dinettes” you’ve stopped along Route 57 where the auto garage boys and the diner girls from across the road are ready to knock your socks off with their brand of country, rock, and bluegrass.

There’s a thin story line here. The songs refer to love, life and camaraderie in the hinterlands, but this show is all about the music, and the music is simply fantastic. The cast includes seven highly talented actors/musicians, most of whom play more than one instrument. Of course there are many guitars and drums, and a piano, but you’ll also hear banjo, ukuleles, harmonica, cello, bass fiddle, mandolin, kazoo, and tambourines.

The entire cast deserves kudos, but Levi Kreis as the piano man is simply unbelievable. No one should be able to play the piano that well. It is not surprising that he has won Tony and Outer Critics Circle awards in New York.


Photo by Mark Kitaoka

Conceived by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel, and Jim Wann, the show first opened off Broadway in 1981 then quickly moved to Broadway, then Chicago, London, and it’s still playing in theatres around the United States. Brandon Ivie directed this Village production and R.J. Tancioco was in charge of music. Andrea Bryn Bush imagined and created the concepts for the diner and garage that so aptly set the scene.

Geoff Korf’s lighting truly gives the production added razzle-dazzle. The various lighting devises are clearly visible to the audience. They, too, are stars of the show as they swivel, turn on and off, change colors, and sweep out into the theatre. The effects are spectacular.

This is theatre as rollicking good fun with great music performed by a fine cast. No brain food here, the sounds and experience are quite enough.

Through Oct. 23 at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, and from Oct. 28 to November 20 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett, 425-257-8600 or VillageTheatre.org

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