“Baby Boomer Bash”
at Pine Box Theatre
by Jeff Tryon
They’re shaking things up down at the Pine Box Theater in August, where “Those Good Time Gals and Guys” are breaking into a whole new era. For the third month in a row, the singing and dancing troupe will introduce a new show. This show is more than just new; it goes where no Pine Box Theater production has gone before.
With the premiere of “Baby Boomer Bash” August 8th the 14-year old theater will touch on a new genre of music—from the 60s and 70s—and tap into the next generation of audiences who give the show its name.
“Our music is basically the 30s through the 50s for the most part, and we decided we’d better start doing some shows for the baby boomers,” said co-founder Bob Hamontre. “They’re starting to retire. So we’re jumping the music up to the 60s and 70s, and a little bit of 80s in this show.”
Mounting a brand new show with brand new songs is a major undertaking, but not that unusual for the Pine Box, especially this season.
“We always try to do at least one new show a season,” said Mr. Hamontre. “We had a mental lapse this year and we had three in a row. If it was just learning words and standing up and singing—that’s one thing—but when you’re doing choreography, and designing all costumes…. We very seldom repeat a song in any of our shows and we very seldom wear a costume that we’ve worn in another show. The gals change costumes anywhere from seven to 10 times during an average show. We never have less than 75 songs in a show and they never repeat a song. Usually we have around 80 songs.” Multiply that by 10 shows a season and you get some idea of the talents of the performers. “We write, choreograph, stage and direct all of our shows. We do all of our own shows.”
Deanna Demes, one of the Good Time Gals, does all the arranging, and Roger Smith does all the orchestration and, since he is a baby boomer, he’s doing more of the musical arranging for this particular show. The other original Good Time Gal, Bob’s wife Romilda, handles choreography. Garry Pottenger is the drummer and Bob runs the sound and lights during the show.
Out of the new repertoire the cast will mine gems like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Dancin’ In the Streets,” “Yesterday,” “Proud Mary,” “Feelin’ Groovy,” “Twist and Shout,” “Bye Bye Love,” “That’ll Be the Day,” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
“We’ll do some Elvis for sure,” Mr. Hamontre said. “On a lot of these songs Roger sings the lead and the girls are singing three parts on top of that, so we really get some good harmonies. And of course there are solos and duets.
The show will once again tap into the multiple talents of local girl Jacqueline Coldwell, daughter of the godparents of Brown County Theater, Dale and Janis Cassiday. “In this show Jacqueline is going to repeat a bit on Miss America that was just hilarious,” Mr. Hamontre said. “Since Miss America was so popular in the 60s and 70s, we’re going to bring that back. “It was about that time that they added talent to the contest, and in the early years the talents sometimes were not all that great,” he chuckled. “So Jacqueline sings and draws and does parts and plays instruments—everything you could possibly do in a talent competition, she does. We always try to work some comedy into the shows and try to mix the ballads with ‘up’ tunes.
“Romilda and Deanna have been together as ‘Those Good Time Gals’ for 30 years,” Mr. Hamontre said. “They’re kind of magic together; they’re joined at the hip. People even think they’re twins.”
Although technically retired, Bob says in his case that amounts to “only working six days a week.”
The Pine Box, now back at their original namesake building at 168 South Jefferson Street, will perform 10 shows this year including February’s “Cupid Made Me Do It”, the three new shows, and two holiday favorites, the gospel-based “How Can I Keep From Singing?” in November and “Old Fashioned Christmas” in December.
“We’re doing a different show every month, but, fortunately, from September on, we’ll be doing shows we’ve done before,” he said.
The “Baby Boomer Bash” show will run three weeks—August 8–24.
For reservations or information on future shows, phone 1-800-685-9624 or 988-6827 or visit <www.PineBoxTheatre.com>.