Get Pumped with Pump Boys, April 23 – May 14

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Tennessee Repertory Theatre presents:
Pump Boys & Dinettes (Ages 12 and older)
TPAC’s Johnson Theater
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tennesseerep.org
Showtimes: Tue – Thu 6:30 p.m., Fri 7:30 p.m., Sat 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $42.50

Tennessee Repertory Theatre serves up an outstanding musical that is hotter than the coffee and blueberry pie at the Double Cupp Diner with its production of Pump Boys & Dinettes.

The musical was written by a musical group of the same name and originally premiered on Broadway in 1982. True to form, the Rep’s delivery of a musical is the big highlight of its season, and Pump Boys is no exception. The caliber of this production is worthy of a New York stage.

Pam Atha’s direction and choreography shine in this flawless production that is sheer fun from start to finish, and it doesn’t hurt to have a multi-talented, stellar cast to bring the show to vibrant life.

Two local favorites play the dinettes, Martha Wilkinson (Rhetta) and Brooke Bryant (Prudie). Both women shine and sizzle, giving dynamic performances all the way around.

The pump boys are Brad Albin (Eddie), Jeff Boyet (Jim), Jeffery Williams (L.M.) and Taylor Jones (Jackson), who also serve as the show’s musical accompaniment on guitars, piano and bass. Wilkinson and Bryant provide some extra percussion on occasion by use of kitchen utensils.

There is very little dialogue between the characters. The story of the four men who work at a gas station and the two ladies who work in the nearby diner on Highway 57 “somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, N.C.” is told through a cleverly written collection of songs mostly in the pop and country-rock genres.

Each cast member possesses amazing vocal chops, and together, they skillfully encapsulate both the joys and woes of working class Americans. While all of the musical numbers are strong, the most memorable ones are those high on humorous content, including “Drinkin’ Shoes,” “Tips,” “Farmer Tan,” “Vacation” and “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine.”

Pump Boys & Dinettes is a rollicking good time, best suited to older children who can appreciate and understand the humor … and it’s certainly a perfect date night outing with your spouse.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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