Pump Boys and Dinettes
Winter Park Playhouse • Winter Park, Florida
Created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel, and Jim Wann
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
reviewed by Carl F. Gauze
Way down south on fictitious US Route 57, we find Pump Boys and Dinettes, a combination diner and garage, the sort of place that might have a sign saying: “Eat here—Get Gas.” At this stop, the food is much better and the necks much redder, giving us a collection of country influenced tunes with more guitars than I’ve ever seen on this stage.
The cast of Broadway quality performers acts like they learned how to milk cows before they learned how to stay on key. Stage left we have the guys, led by the perennial pianist Chris Leavy on keys, Ned Wilkinson on mouth harp, and a pair of stunning guitar players. Stage right we find the kitchen, where the the waitresses belt out show tunes while pretending to serve food and homemade biscuits. The music has an unaccustomed country sound, titles like “Farmer Tan,” “Fisherman’s Prayer,” and “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine” color the evening in agricultural patina, and the food in the diner is sure to keep you going until all the cows are milked.
I caught this show late in the run, but there’s still time to mosey on down to the friendliest gas station in Winter Park.