Pump Boys and Dinettes
Pump Boys and Dinettes
Sunday, February 12, 2017 – 5pm
Pump Boys and Dinettes is a musical written by a performance group of the same name. The group, Pump Boys and Dinettes, consists of John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann. The members additionally directed and starred in the Broadway production.
The musical was created by two friends who worked at The Cattleman restaurant in New York City, dramatizing their experiences there. It started as a two-man act, and then expanded.
As Jim Wann, the show’s principal author and composer recalled in 2010, “I was a scuffling songwriter/guitarist and Mark Hardwick was a piano player/actor…. Mark and I were unemployed and happy to take a job playing five nights a week in the Cattleman Lounge, attached to a restaurant on one of the darker blocks west of Grand Central. Our mission was to play country standards to entertain the ‘tired businessman’ who had come for the drinks, the steaks, and the waitresses in classic Western saloon girl attire. On slow nights we’d play original songs I was writing for Mark’s emerging comic persona…. Mark came in one night wearing a matching dark blue twill shirt and trouser outfit and I went out and bought one just like it. By and by we had oval patches over the pockets with our names in them…. So we became guys who worked at the gas station. Our imaginations were taking over and our Pump Boys repertoire began to grow. The Cattleman management soon grew tired of this nonsense and showed us the saloon door.”
The musical premiered on Broadway on February 4, 1982 at the Princess Theatre and closed on June 18, 1983, after 573 performances. It had premiered at the Chelsea West Side Arts Theatre in 1981, moving to the Colonnades Theatre (Greenwich Village) in October 1981.
The show played in London’s West End at the Piccadilly Theatre from September 20, 1984 to June 8, 1985 and transferred to the Albery Theatre from June 11, 1985 to September 2, 1985. The production starred, amongst others, Paul Jones, Clodagh Rodgers, Joe Brown and Kiki Dee.
The show played for many years in Chicago at the Apollo Theatre on Lincoln Avenue.
In July of 2014, the show was revived for five performances at New York City Center as part of the Encores! Off-Center program.
The musical tells the story of four men (L.M., Jackson, Jim and Eddie) who work at a gas station and two waitresses (sisters Prudie and Rhetta Cupp) at the “Double Cupp Diner,” a dinette, located somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, North Carolina. The music is mostly from the country rock/pop music genres. They perform on guitars, piano, bass and kitchen utensils.
The original cast album was released by CBS Records in the U.S. Its recording of “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine” reached number 67 on the Hot Country Songs charts.