Mainstage season kicks off Wednesday

Michael Gallagher, a freshman acting major from Morrisville, and Jaclyn Helms, a senior acting major from Spruce Pine, are among the Western Carolina University students appearing in the Mainstage production of ‘Pump Boys and Dinettes,’ Sept. 26-29 on the WCU campus.

The musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will start off the 2012-13 Mainstage season, presented by the students and faculty of Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 29, plus a 3 p.m. matinee on Sept. 29, at Hoey Auditorium.

The fun takes place at a roadside filling station and diner along N.C. Highway 57, where the Pump Boys sell gasoline and, across the road, Prudie and Rhetta Cupp run the Double Cupp Diner.

“Pump Boys and Dinettes” will feature direction by Brenda Lilly, School of Stage and Screen faculty member; choreography by Karyn Tomczak, director of the dance program; and musical direction by guest artist Jan Powell.

“The foot-stomping songs and charming tales of friendship, romance and heartbreak will have you walking out of the theater wanting more, and wishing you had a Moonpie and a RC Cola,” Lilly said.

The mix of country-western, rock and blues, conceived and written by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann, has earned the production Tony and Drama Desk nominations for best musical. Songs include “Be Good or Be Gone,” “Tips” and “The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine.”

Next up for the Mainstage will be the comedy “Once in a Lifetime.” Staging Nov. 8-10, it’s the story of three members of a failing vaudeville act who head to Hollywood to cash in on the conversion to “talkies” by posing as elocutionists who teach silent stars to speak on camera.

Tickets for “Pump Boys and Dinettes” are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff, and $7 (in advance) and $10 (day of show) for students.

For more general information about the Mainstage season, contact WCU’s School of Stage and Screen at 828-227-7491. For tickets, call the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center box office at 828-227-2479 or go online to