Pump Boys and Dinettes – Musical Revue

Type: Musical Revue

Recommendation: Not really. If you’re expecting a musical, you’ll be sorely disappointed. It was more of a “musical revue” … so essentially a concert of songs you don’t know performed by people you also don’t know. Don’t get me wrong. It was very well done but just not what I was looking for.

Negatives: As mentioned above, there was no developed plot or storyline so it was basically a concert.

Story, Script, and Lyrics: There was no developed plot/story. Basically, it was about mechanics and waitresses singing country, folksy, honky-tonk songs about random things in their lives. I feel like good musical revues should have a decent storyline to follow.

Cast and Theater Company: Anything from Village Theater is top-notch quality with Equity Actors. All the talented actors played a wide variety of instruments.

  • Joshua Carter: Nothing too noteworthy with acting and singing except he had a lot of corny lines. But he had sick guitar skills. I was surprised to see him play the piano as well randomly in the show for about 10 seconds.
  • Sylvie Davidson: “Pretty little thang” had some great pep but was overshadowed by her sister dinette.
  • Sara Porkalob: Powerful voice took over the sister duo. They did color-blind casting on her character (she’s an Asian in a Caucasian role).
    Michael Feldman: Played an Elvis-like role like a pro lady’s man. Pretty entertaining.
  • Levi Kreis: Dashingly handsome pianist with great hair and crazy keyboard skills. Like Joshua he played guitar for about 10 seconds.
  • Olivia D. Hamilton: Bassist who didn’t really sing/talk or have a huge role. She was just worth mentioning because I’m pretty sure they did gender-neutral casting on her character, whose name is “Eddie” and is supposed to be one of the Pump Boys. Seattle seems to do this a lot.

Venue and Set: Everett Performing Arts Center is your standard high quality community theater. The set was pretty decadent but I expect no less from the Village Theater.

Music and Audio: Village Theater always has high quality audio engineering but they do love to turn the volume up. I’ll admit, it was so high that sometimes I was cringing. Many times the music also overpowered the actors. Score for non-synthesized piano and drums though!

Price: $$ – Moderately Priced at $45-65 from the Village Theater Website


  • September 15 — October 23, 2016 in Issaquah, WA
  • October 28 — November 20, 2016 in Everett, WA

Seating: Assigned Seating

Link: http://www.villagetheatre.org/issaquah/pump-boys-and-dinettes.php

Murder Ballad – Musical

Type: Rock Musical

Recommendation: A thousand times “yes!” I loved it so much that I bought the soundtrack and brought a crowd of my coworkers to see it a second time.

Negatives: Low budget production (but HIGH talent)

Story, Script, and Lyrics: Rock musical with the simple classic tale of lovers, secrets, lies … and MURDER! No complex bullshit. Just one act. All lines were lyrics except for the spoken dramatic climax.

Cast and Theater Company: Sidecountry Theater provided a class act. I could have easily seen this quality in a touring Broadway production. I was surprised to learn that none the actors were Equity Actors!

  • Sara Henley Hicks: What a powerful voice! A commanding presence on the stage is important as the narrator and she provided this strong leadership while weaving the audience through the simple storyline.
  • Naomi Morgan: Like a car, she sometimes had to get warmed up first before belting her lyrics. Don’t let that fool you though. When she gets going, you’ll feel goosebumps!
  • Jordan Iosua Taylor: Nice eye candy 😉 That pretty face (and body!) comes with a soothing steady voice. Despite his “bad boy” persona, I could hear a hints of classical training. Still it worked well with this rock musical.
  • Nick Watson: Not sure if his stiff performance was intentional as the stereotypical “nice guy” who lives next door and finishes last. His voice also wasn’t as strong as his other counterparts and I could tell that it was harder for him to reach some notes. These slight technicalities were barely noticeable and didn’t detract too much from his performance.

Venue and Set: West of Lenin is a tiny little theater. This particular production had an immersive-style set within the audience. Basically, the actors were sometimes literally one foot in front of you and might have even touched you. Nice single bathrooms. Drinks were allowed inside the set/audience.

Music and Audio: Live music didn’t overpower the actors. I wasn’t a huge fan of the synthesized piano and drums but that’s what you usually get from a non-touring group. The cast used a great wireless microphone system. I was actually surprised they used one given the small venue’s size.

Price: $ – Cheap!

Dates: 11-19-2016 to 11-13-2016

Seating: Open seating

Link: http://sidecountrytheatre.org/production/murder-ballad/