Pump Boys and Dinettes

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Pump Boys and Dinettes
MusicJohn Foley
Mark Hardwick
Debra Monk
Cass Morgan
John Schimmel
Jim Wann
LyricsJohn Foley
Mark Hardwick
Debra Monk
Cass Morgan
John Schimmel
Jim Wann
BookJohn Foley
Mark Hardwick
Debra Monk
Cass Morgan
John Schimmel
Jim Wann
Productions1981 Off Broadway
1982 Broadway
1984 West End

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.[1] It started as a two-man act, and then expanded.[2] 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.[3]


The musical premiered on Broadway on February 4, 1982 at the Princess Theatre and closed on June 18, 1983, after 573 performances. The cast featured Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Foley, Mark Hardwick and John Schimmel. 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.[4][5] The production starred, amongst others, Paul Jones, Clodagh Rodgers, Joe Brown, Brian Protheroe, Carlene Carter and Kiki Dee.

The show played for many years in Chicago at the Apollo Theatre on Lincoln Avenue.

A 1983 touring version of the show featured former pop star Nicolette Larson. Larson's performance in the show was well-received, and it began a brief foray into country music for her.[6]

In July 16–19, 2014, the show was revived for five performances at New York City Center as part of the Encores! Off-Center program. The cast featured Hunter Foster, Mamie Parris, Randy Redd, Katie Thompson and Jordan Dean.[7]

On July 22, 2018 the original cast (save Mark Hardwick, who died in 1991) performed two full-score concert versions of the show at Feinstein's/54 Below in Manhattan.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

Other Media[edit]

Pump Boys and Dinettes On Television was a pilot episode for a series adaptation of the show featuring the Broadway cast and appearances by Ron Carey and Tanya Tucker. It aired on NBC on August 15, 1983, but a series was never ordered. [11]


Lyrics and music by Jim Wann (unless otherwise noted)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1982 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Mark Hardwick Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann Nominated
Outstanding Music Nominated


  1. ^ "Country goes pop in musical at Cabaret.(Entertainment)". The Register Guard. Eugene, Oregon. September 14, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Keyes, Bob (June 10, 2004). "MSMT pumped up for season opener". Portland Press Herald. Portland, Maine. Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Wann, Jim (November 18, 2010). "Jim Wann Remembers Pump Boys". Masterworks Broadway (Sony Music Entertainment). Archived from the original on January 5, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  4. ^ Listing, West End, 1984-1985 broadwayworld.com, accessed May 19, 2009
  5. ^ Listing, West End, 1984-1985 This is Theatre, accessed May 19, 2009
  6. ^ Perrone, Pierre (December 27, 1997). "Obituary: Nicolette Larson". Independent. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Isherwood, Charles. " 'Pump Boys and Dinettes' at Encores! Off-Center" The New York Times, July 17, 2014
  8. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/original-cast-of-pump-boys-and-dinettes-will-reunite-for-july-concerts
  9. ^ Pump Boys and Dinettes Production notes samuelfrench.com, accessed May 19, 2009
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  11. ^ Corry, John (August 15, 1983), "TV: NBC's Adaptation Of "Pump Boys" Tonight", New York Times, retrieved September 12, 2015

External links[edit]