What do you get when you take a brash young cowboy, an aspiring nightclub singer, a naive teenager, a tough sheriff, a college philosophy professor and a host of other characters and trap them together for the night in a 1950s diner during a Kansas snowstorm?
Come out to see “Bus Stop” at Coastal Repertory Theatre.
The production by the great American playwright William Inge opens Friday and runs through July 7.
“I love this play because of the writing,” said director Gary Shoenfeld. “These are really well-rounded, well-developed, complicated, messy people. We have a tremendous cast pulling it off really well.”
One of those cast members is Coastal Rep veteran Daniel Martin, who plays the boorish but misunderstood cowboy, Bo Decker. Rumor has it that the actor has ambitions to be a real cowboy someday, and he has the right physicality to pull off the role.
On the other end of the spectrum is the youngest cast member, Amabel Gale, who plays the intelligent but impressionable high school waitress Elma Duckworth.
“She is an extraordinarily talented actress; a lovely find,” said Shoenfeld.
The backdrop to the action is the 1950s diner, which set designer Doug McCurdy has created with passionate attention to detail.
The production lucked out by finding a bevy of vintage pieces like Coca Cola signs and other distinctive artwork from an actual diner of that era that were used in another production of “Bus Stop” 20 years ago.
The play is dramatic, full of grit and raw human emotion, all supported by Inge’s impeccable writing, but it is also funny. Shoenfeld said one of the highlights of the play comes when the characters decide to put on a floorshow, complete with bad singing and themes from Shakespeare.
“It is fantastically hilarious,” he said. “There is alcohol involved.
“The singing is not very good. It just makes you wish you were there partying with these people.”