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'Pinch City' Hit at the Boom

“The Hit of Pinch City” is a great piece of meta-theatre, and all those who work in theatre, work around theatre, love theatre, or are interested in theatre should see it.  So should anyone familiar with small town politics in any form…so that’s almost everyone.  This world premiere show is currently playing at the Boom in Oklahoma City through September 20.  The musical elements alone are worth the price.

The NextStage Production writing team of Rodney Brazil and Rebecca McCauley, along with director Brett Young, have given us a beautifully layered and well written script about the dying town of Pinch City, Oklahoma, and a last-ditch attempt to save the town with a theatre production starring its one famous former resident, the great star “Reina” (Elizabeth Brooks).  Musical interludes advance the story while adding to the theatrical layering.

This creates issues in the town theatre, since the production is an annual event and the local actress who has traditionally held the leading role must now be demoted.  McCauley does a lovely job as “Cherrie” who is also the newspaper owner and married to the usual director, “Jeffrey,” played with genial confusion by Mike Waugh.  The famous director imported for the town-saving production, the often absent “Derek,” is played with understated egotism by Young.

Anchoring the local theatre is the stolid and dependable “John” who maintains everything and has long history with everyone.  The local tart (doesn’t every small town have one?) “Cozy” is played with hilarious and predatory deadpan comic timing by Erin Heatly. 

Returning to her roots, “Reina” brings an entourage composed mostly of her daughter “Charlotte.”  This pivotal role is played with exactly the right level of ingenuous humor and disingenuous self-awareness by Jessa Schinske, who stepped into the role only days before opening and gave a flawless performance.  “Charlotte” does not know who her father is, but soon speculation links “Reina” and various Pinch City men, who may or may not be eager to claim the role.

The real ingénue is “Teddy,” a young Pinch City native who is interested in performing and doing his bit to save his town—but who wants to go out into the world and experience life. Played with stolid innocence by Kellan King, “Teddy” makes connections with Charlotte and re-examines his life choices.

In the course of the production, the characters all re-evaluate their relationships to each other and to the town of Pinch City and its history.  A local crustacean takes the stage for a moment, bringing a scarlet moment to the production, and in the end, relationships are re-organized and Pinch City survives—although perhaps not quite as its residents expected.  The moments of musical reflection are a combination of original work and brilliant parody, and all are delivered with charm and gusto by the cast. 

“The Hit of Pinch City” is produced by NextStage Productions at the Boom, 2218 NW 39th Street, Oklahoma City, at 8:00 on Friday and Saturday nights through September 20.  Dinner service (not included in the ticket price) begins at 6:30; the Boom offers a rotating menu of excellent fare, including a different cheesecake each night. 

Contact NextStage for tickets; call (405) 367-3774 or check the website at

Contact NextStage for tickets; call (405) 367-3774 or check the website at