Fall experimental: Pump Boys and Dinettes


The BHS Theatre Department will present the musical Pumpboys and Dinettes from November 14-16 at the Black Box Theatre. Pumpboys and Dinettes is an interactive and unique production and is directed by Ceci Yasell, ‘20, with Jalen Fertig, ‘21, as the music director. Pumpboys and Dinettes are centered around Prudie and Rhetta Cupp, the “Dinettes,” who run the Double Cupp diner off of Highway 57 in Grand Ole Opry country, where the “Pump Boys” sell high octane. 

Pumpboys and Dinettes is a very casual and interactive experience, and I think it’s completely different than any show we have done in my time at BHS,” Fertig said. “The audience is sat around the Black Box as if they are eating at the Double Cupp diner themselves. Besides [immersing] the audience into the show, Pumpboys and Dinettes also offers dinner theatre. We provide pie to the audience so they can get the true diner experience.”

Rehearsals for Pumpboys and Dinettes began in mid-September. The rehearsal process is fast-paced and structured to prepare the actors for the shows. The schedule itself is divided into three parts: music, blocking, and dancing. 

“We started rehearsing three times a week for two hours every day, but now we have switched to five times a week for two to two and a half hours a day. The cast has been doing a great job with the fast-paced nature of the show,” Fertig said. 

Pumpboys and Dinettes are comprised of nineteen songs that range from country-rock to traditional love songs, performed by a cast of twelve. Because of the versatile and comedic nature of the show, the casting process focused on finding students who matched the tone. 

Pumpboys was difficult to cast because there are so few people in the show and so many people who could’ve played the roles,” Cecilia Yasell said. “We needed really strong performers who can not only fill the room with their voices but also bring some over-the-top characters to life. In the end, I feel we’ve found a lively and talented group of people who work together well and are really bringing this show to life.”

Students interested in being cast in Pumpboys and Dinettes prepared a monologue and an excerpt of a song from the musical. After the initial auditions, selected students participated in a callback process. 

“We held callbacks after two days of auditions, where we ran songs and dances to finalize our cast list. After callbacks and a couple of hours of discussions, we finalized our cast,” Fertig said. 

The directorial process poses both challenges and opportunities to grow. Fertig and Yasell deal with the workload and responsibilities placed upon them, but both enjoy the new experience and are excited to see the final production. 

“I’m so excited to see it finally finished. Costumes, set, everything. Being a director has really attached me to the show, and every little improvement is so rewarding. I can’t imagine how thrilled I will be when I see everything out together,” Fertig said.