Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre’s new musical is entertaining escapism
GRAND LAKE – In a world where breaking news seems to happen every hour and society is often more interested in connecting with screens than people, the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre wants to invite audiences to enjoy a simpler time with their current musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Pump Boys and Dinettes offers a snapshot of life for four men working at a gas station located off Highway 57 and two women working at the diner next store. The musical features fun, hillbilly rock songs with plenty of references to the stars of the genre, such as Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.
Michael Querio, the executive artistic director for the theatre, said he chose this musical because of its ability to appeal to all kinds of people and put smiles on the faces of the audience with its fun tunes and characters.
“I feel like so much of this is escapism more than anything, it gives people a chance to not think about all of the stuff and you can relax and take it easy,” Querio said. “It’s really fun and it’s not high drama that’s going to frustrate you or make you sad, you’re going to enjoy yourself.”
The show stars Conor Finnerty-Esmonde as Jim; Ethan Ray Parker as L.M.; P. Tucker Worley as Jackson; Mathilde Bernabei as Prudie Cupp; Maya Rowe as Rhetta Cupp; and Todd Hale as Eddie. This is the second time the theatre has featured Pump Boys and Dinettes, with the last show being in 2004.
Overall, the show is highly entertaining and brought to life by the exceptional musical talents of the cast, who sing, dance, tap and drum on any prop they can get their hands throughout the show, giving dimension to their songs.
Both the set and costumes harken back to the 1950s, which aids in the escapism of the show and pairs well with the style of music featured.
Though the show doesn’t have a traditional plot, the audience gets to know the characters through the lyrics of their songs. The audience hears all about the love lives of each character and follows along during their daily antics.
The cast manages to elicit laughs and smiles, all while still acknowledging the harder aspects of the characters’ lives.
Querio said that with the fall lineup the theatre tends to pick shows that are more intimate and Pump Boys and Dinettes certainly falls into that category. After intermission, the cast starts the second act with an audience raffle and interacts with the crowd during a few songs as well.
The cast had great chemistry with the audience and with each other on stage. This aspect of the production helps to draw audience members in since the show is on the short side.
However, though the musical is short, it’s also sweet. The joking personalities of each character and the musical talent and diversity they display are really the highlights of the show.
Querio said he hopes the audiences enjoy this rendition and all of the efforts the cast and crew put into making the show so entertaining.
“I think we’re doing a really good performance of it,” he said. “So that’s the goal, is to do a good version of Pump Boys and Dinettes and expose more people to it because it’s a good little piece of Americana.”
The show is now playing at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre until Sept. 29. Tickets are $35 for adult value seats, $25 for child value seats and then $45 for adult premium seats and $35 for child premium seats. Orchestra seats are $55 for adults and $45 for children.
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