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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Light, Satisfying Musical Theatre

Skylight’s ‘Pump Boys and Dinettes’

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Sometimes you don't want to have to watch anything particularly deep. Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy light, classy rock in a musical theater setting. This month, Skylight Music Theatre responds to that desire with Pump Boys and Dinettes. The Skylight's director Bill Theisen finds a really good atmospheric harmony for musical celebration of small town life just off the highway.

Brandon Ribordy's set succinctly delivers the setting. To the left: an old service station populated by four guys. To the right: a diner populated by two women. Simple stories play out on a small stage. The show's got a strangely seductive musical honesty about it all, which Theisen does a good job of delivering to the stage through a well-assembled cast.

Molly Rhode and Samantha Sostarich are charmingly percussive as sisters who run the local diner. Greg Flattery serves as the main mechanic. He cleverly cultivates an amiable working-class charisma for a performance anchored in the atmosphere. A natural for musical theatre, Paul Helm has sharp comic instincts and deft musical talent that makes for a substantial wit behind the piano. A veteran of two previous productions of the musical, Andrew Crowe brings experience in the role of Jackson, performing a particularly swinging rendition of the song “Mona.” Skylight veteran Tommy Hahn channels silent shades of Elvis with an electric bass guitar in the role of Eddie.

The show is a couple of hours long, but it slides by quickly and seems kind of inconsequential when it's over. This is odd considering how utterly satisfying it is.

Skylight Music Theatre's production of Pump Boys and Dinettesruns through March 24, at the Broadway Theatre Center's Cabot Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800, or visit skylightmusictheatre.org.
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