'Pump Boys and Dinettes' mixes auto mechanics, down-home cooking and music at Arts Center

features@islandpacket.comJune 18, 2014 

The musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes" is now on stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island.

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"Pump Boys and Dinettes," running June 19 through July 27 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island, is a musical tribute to life on the roadside of a small Southern town. Set in a gas station and the neighboring diner, this musical tells the story of four mechanics and two waitresses who share the stories of their lives through country, rock and pop music.

The ladies of the Double Cupp Diner, Prudie and Rhetta, celebrate their famous home cooking and gift for song with the same enthusiasm they bring to their kinship with the guys at the station, plus a hint of romantic pairings as well.

A twist in the performance is that the actors are also the musicians. The emphasis on live music stems from the musical's creators -- a six-strong performance group also named Pump Boys and Dinettes, who wrote, directed and even starred in the original Broadway production, playing a stunning variety of musical instruments including fiddles, bass guitar and even kitchen utensils. The actors do in the arts center production, led by award-winning director Robert J. Farley of Georgia Theater Ensemble, do the same.

Having directed the show seven times prior to this, Farley said, "This is one of my favorite shows. I really like its sass, humor and heart."

The Broadway premiere opened in 1982 running for 573 performances and was nominated for Best Musical at Tony Awards and Outstanding Musical at the Drama Desk Awards.

Between changing tires and baking pies, the gang performs a down-home mix of country western, rock 'n' roll and blues in this tale of friendship, romance and life's simple pleasures. Songs include "Vacation," "Be Good or Be Gone," and "The Night Dolly Parton Almost Was Mine." The numbers weave storytelling into the toe-tappin' songs and harmonies.

The arts center will be serving fresh apple pecan pie and peach cobbler in the lobby, straight from the Double Cupp Diner, of course.

Tickets are $44 for adults, and $31 for children; and may be purchased by calling the box office at 843-842-2787 or online at www.tickets.artshhi.com.

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