Oct. 30 - Dec. 12, 2021

Created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Tony winner Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel, and Jim Wann

Porchlight’s 27th season kicks off with a stop at the Double Cupp Diner for Pump Boys & Dinettes, one of the longest running shows in Chicago Theatre history and a country fried phenomenon filled with toe-tapping music on guitar, piano, bass and a kitchen utensil or two! This North Carolina dinette is your home off the highway and located just across the street from the filling station. Run by Prudie and Rhetta Cupp, beloved sisters who are always ready with a cup of Joe, a slice of pie, a homespun song and a “Welcome back!” The New York Times said “It doesn’t merely celebrate the value of friendship and life’s simple pleasures, it embodies them.”

The cast of Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pump Boys & Dinettes includes: Rafe Bradford+ (Eddie – Bass); Shantel Cribbs* (Prudie Cupp); Ian Custer+(Jim – Rhythm Guitar & U/S L.M); Frederick Harris= (L.M – Piano); Melanie Loren* (Rhetta Cupp) and Billy Rude+ (Jackson – Lead Guitar) with Caitlin Dobbins* (Standy by Rhetta and Prudie Cupp); J.J. Smith+ (Stand by Jim and Jackson); Kelan Smith+ (Stand by Jim and Eddie)

Pump Boys & Dinettes’ production team includes: Daryl Brooks+, (director); Robert Reddrick+, (music director), Rueben D. Echoles+, (choreographer/costume designer); Jennifer Aparicio*, (production manager/SM swing); Eric Backus+, (co-sound designer) Gianni Carcagno*/=, (assistant stage manager/assistant audio engineer); Matthew R. Chase+, (audio engineer); Andrea Enger=, (assistant stage manager/wardrobe manager); Deya Friedman*, (production stage manager, AEA); Denise Karczewski*, (lighting designer); Sydney Lynne*, (scenic designer); Caitlin McCarthy*, (properties designer); Johnnie Schleyer+, (technical director); Stephanie Senior*, (co-sound designer); Rachel West*, (lighting supervisor), Rashaad A. Bond+, (producing artistic associate); Alex Rhyan+, (production and operations director) and Michael Weber+, (artistic director).


Daryl D. Brooks (he/him, Director) is a Chicago  based Director, Writer and Actor who was born and raised in Waynesboro, Virginia. He is currently the Producing Managing Director of the Black Ensemble Theater. His musical revue, You Can’t Fake the Funk: A Journey Through Funk Music, premiered at Black Ensemble Theater and earned him an African American Arts Award, Black Theater Alliance Award, and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical/Revue. His production Men of Soul also received multiple awards and nominations including the Chicago BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Director for a Musical/Revue, a Jeff Award Nomination for Best Director of a Review, and was selected for production at The National Black Theater Festival. He has directed over fifty productions and some credits include; Black Pearl: A Tribute to Josephine Baker, Women of Soul (Black Ensemble Theatre), Memphis (Porchlight Musical Theatre), Million Dollar Quartet (Theatre At the Center), Akeelah and the Bee and Fast Food Chain (Adventure Stage and Northwestern Settlement). In 2019 Daryl received the Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence Award for building diversity and equity within the Chicago theater community. Maya- Daddy Loves You!

Music Director

Robert Reddrick (he/him, Music Director) is the Music director and drummer for Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater. He is a seven-time recipient of the Black Theater Alliance award, and five-time nominee for the Joseph Jefferson award for best music director.  Additionally, he has been music director for projects at Steppenwolf Theatre (Traffic series), University of Illinois, Free Street Theater, as well as drummer for many other productions throughout Chicago.  In the late 1990’s he toured with “The Platters featuring the Legendary Monroe Powell”, and travelled worldwide with them.  He also has his own band, “The R2Project featuring Bonnie Phillips” with CD’s available online. Robert has performed, produced, and engineered many recordings for local Chicago artists. “I am extremely excited to work on this project for Porchlight! Thank you, Daryl Brooks, and Michael Weber, for thinking of me! Thank you to Jackie Taylor for allowing me the time “away from home”. And a special thank you to my wife Bonnie for her continued love and support.

Choreographer/Costume Designer

Rueben D. Echoles (he/him, Choreographer/Costume Designer) Mr. Echoles is an accomplished playwright, director, choreographer, and designer. He is an Associate Artistic Director for Black Ensemble Theater and has been since from 2005. Rueben has had the pleasure of working with many theater companies across the country and in the Chicagoland area such as ETA creative Arts Foundation (Director/Choreographer/Costume designer Showfolk TYA, Co playwright with Euseni Eugene Perkins ‘Voices of HIV’) Congo Square, Refuge, Porchlight Music Theater (costume designer), Paramount (asst. wig designer) and Studio One Dance Theater (playwright, director creative consultant 2003 – present), just to name a few. His most recent projects include  Call Me Madam (costume design PMT) “A New Attitude, In Tribute to Patti Labelle”, “My Brothers Keeper: The story of the Nicholas Brothers” and “The last Dancer Standing” (playwright/director/Choreographer Black Ensemble Theater) Rueben is thrilled to be a part of this amazing project!!

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs);  = (any with respect)


Rafe Bradford

Rafe Bradford


Born on Chicago’s South Side, Rafe began his professional career at age 16 playing in steppers lounges. He received a full scholarship to study Jazz and Classical bass at the University of Illinois Urbana after which performing with many jazz legends including McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Stanley Turrentine, and Chicago legend Ghalib Ghallab. Later Rafe became an original member of the Tom Joyner Morning Show Live-House Band where he was privileged to perform with Luther Vandross, Mavis Staples and others. Many TV commercials followed with the famous voices of Barry White, CeCe Winans, Patti Austin, and the Oprah show theme with Patti LaBelle. In recent years you could catch Rafe on NBC’s the Bonnie Hunt Show where he performed with Late Night’s Paul Shaffer and drumming legend Harvey Mason. Now back in Chicago, Rafe has been the bass foundation for many Jeff nominated musicals.

Ian Paul Custer

Ian Paul Custer


Ian Paul Custer is thrilled to be working with Porchlight Music Theatre.  Chicago credits:  Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Jeff Award, Best Ensemble, Best Musical – Midsize), The Columnist, Little Shop of Horrors, and It’s A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! (American Blues Theater), Bad Jews (Theatre Wit), 33 Variations (Jeff Award– Best Production, Midsize), and To Master The Art (TimeLine Theatre), Annie Bosh is Missing (Steppenwolf Theatre), High Holidays (Goodman Theatre), Princess and the Pea (Marriott Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (Paramount Theatre).  Regional credits: Hero: The Musical (Asolo Rep Theatre), Cymbeline (Notre Dame Shakespeare), Romeo and Juliet (Cardinal Stage), Peter Pan  (360 Entertainment – London, England).  Television credits: APB, Empire, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD.   Ian received his BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, is an Ensemble member of American Blues Theater, and is represented by Big Mouth Talent Inc.  Special thanks to Daryl, Rob, Michael, Mark LeBeau, Shannon, and Magoo.  Follow me on Instagram (@ipcyeahyouknowme), Twitter (@ianpaulcuster), or at ianpaulcuster.godaddysites.com

Shantel Cribbs

Shantel Cribbs

Prudie Cupp

Shantel Cribbs returns to Porchlight, where previous credits include Sophisticated Ladies and Memphis. Chicago/Regional: The Color Purple, Beauty and the Beast (Drury Lane), Junie B. Jones (Marriott Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Mercury Theatre), Marie Christine (BoHo Theatre), A Jazz Happening (Ted Shawn Theatre) and SIX (The Ordway) Training:Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. BFA Musical Theatre Performance, Columbia College Chicago. Philippians 4:13 #TheBaddest 

www.shantelcribbs.net @shanydrenee

Frederick Harris

Frederick Harris


Frederick Harris (LM) most recent productions include The Little Mermaid (Seawitch); Madhatter Gin & Tea Party: Fever Up Productions (Dormouse) The Total Bent: Haven Theatre (Deacon Dennis); Crowns: Fleetwood-Jourdain (Preacher); The View Upstairs: Circle Theatre (Willie); Company: Mercury Theater Chicago (Harry); Merrily We Roll Along: Porchlight Music Theatre (Jerome); A Dickens Carol: Oak Park Festival Theatre (Conductor); Little Shop of Horrors: William Street Repertory Theatre (Audrey II); Ragtime: Griffin Theatre (Booker T. Washington) Jeff Award for Best Musical; The Wiz: Kokandy Productions (The Wiz)Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical; Direct from Death Row, The Scottsboro Boys: Raven Theatre (Piano Player)Jeff Award for Best Ensemble; Hands on a Hard Body: William Street Repertory Theatre (Ronald). Frederick is thankful to God and the Spirit of his Ancestors for continuing to give love and light to his life. T.E.

Melanie Loren

Melanie Loren

Rhetta Cupp

Porchlight: “Mrs. Krupnick/Mrs. Murdock” in Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys. Chicago: The Color Purple and Little Shop of Horrors (Drury Lane Theatre), The First Deep Breath (Victory Gardens Theater), and The Firestorm (First Folio Theatre). Touring: The Defamation Experience (Canamac Productions). Film and Television: Undercover Brother 2, Sprung, Chicago Med, The Chi, APB and Chicago P.D.  Melanie is a 2018 Black Theater Alliance Award recipient for her work in Shakin’ The Mess Outta Misery (Pegasus Theatre Chicago). @iammellodrama

Billy Rude

Billy Rude


Porchlight: “Joe Gillis” in Sunset Boulevard, “Voice of Vernon” in Porchlight Revisits They’re Playing Our Song. Chicago: Grease, Murder for Two (Marriott Theatre), and Beauty & The Beast (Drury Lane Oakbrook). Billy has traveled the country on the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet, and is so grateful to be back onstage making music with friends after so long. For more of my music, art, and performances, follow @billy_rude or www.billyrude.com

Production Staff

Matthew R. Chase

Audio Engineer

Matthew R. Chase (he/him) is a Chicago-based Theatrical Sound Designer and Audio Engineer. Recent credits include: Sound Design of Anyone Can Whistle, Cooking with Bubbie & Veronica’s Room (Skokie Theatre) Gigi’s Party (Yellow Rose Theatre) Urinetown & Xanadu (Columbia College Chicago), 9 to 5 & Mama Mia (Golden Ticket Productions), Assistant Sound Designer for Sophisticated Ladies, Sunset Boulevard, A Chorus Line & A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Porchlight Musical Theatre) Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Theo Ubique), The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe (Underscore Theatre Company), Production Manager for Theater Wit.

Stefanie Senior

Co-Sound Designer

Stefanie is delighted to be coming back to Chicago theatre in her first show with Porchlight. She is a Chicago-based sound designer and engineer, but has also worked regionally. Favorite credits include: Whose Body? (Lifeline), Non-Player Character (Red Theatre), Working (The Depot Theatre), Top Dog/Underdog, & Rock of Ages (both Lake Dillon Theatre Company). Stefanie works on the podcast I’ve Been Meaning To Listen To That. Her next project is an audio drama of Sense & Sensibility with Lifeline. Website: www.stefaniemsenior.com.

Caitlyn McCarthy

Properties Designer

Caitlin (She/her) is a multi-disciplinary theatre and film artist who works in prop, costume, and production design. Chicago: prop design for Sophisticated Ladies (Porchlight Music Theater), The Last Pair of Earlies, A Doll’s House (Raven Theatre), A Recipe for Disaster, Every Brilliant Thing, The Recommendation (Windy City Playhouse); costume/prop design for The Gulf (About Face Theatre). Film: production design for The Care and Keeping of You; production/costume design for Trading Hearts with Victor Shaw, CLAMBAKE (upcoming); costume design for The Last Stand of Bobby Coe (upcoming). Caitlin is the Director of Production at First Floor Theater.  www.caitlinmccarthy.net

Rachel West

Lighting Supervisor

Rachel has been serving as the lighting supervisor for Porchlight since the 2016. She has designed the Porchlight Revisits productions of 1776, Can-Can, Minnie’s Boys and Call Me Madam and more recently the Porchlight Palooza virtual fundraiser. She is a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Boston University. Rachel proudly volunteers for the Maine-Niles Association for Special Recreation, teaching theatre for individuals with special needs. 

Eric Backus

Co-Sound Designer

Eric Backus (Co-Sound Designer, he/him) is a composer and sound designer based in Chicago. Previous collaborations with Porchlight include the streaming productions Chicago Sings Rock & Roll and Broadway by the Decade. Off-Broadway: Hollow/Wave (United Solo Festival), Churchill (SoloChicago Theatre); Regional: Mark Twain’s River of Song, The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep.), Shakespeare in Love, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (TheatreSquared), Legally Blonde (Northern Stage), Working: A Musical, Murder for Two (Merry Go Round Playhouse), Rock of Ages (Lake Dillon Theatre Co.). Recent Chicago credits include Plano (First Floor Theater, Steppenwolf LookOut Series), Short Shakes! Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Every Brilliant Thing (Windy City Playhouse), Wolf Play (Gift Theatre, Jeff Nomination), and The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (American Blues Theater, Jeff Nomination). In addition to theatre, Eric has composed and sound designed for podcasts and film. To hear some of his music, please visit ericbackus.com.

Sydney Lynn

Scenic Designer

Denise Karczewskie

Lighting Designer

Denise is thrilled to be back to work with Porchlight Music Theatre! Selected credits with PMT include Sophisticated Ladies, A Chorus Line (Jeff nomination),  Gypsy,  Memphis, Billy Elliott (Jeff nomination), In the Heights and Dreamgirls.  She would like to thank Michael for the opportunity and Rachel for being awesome.  When theatre exists, her work can regularly be seen at Porchlight, Theatre at the Center, Mercury Theatre Chicago and Black Ensemble Theatre.  Love to Daryl and Maya.

Jennifer Aparicio

Production Manager

JENNIFER APARICIO (Production Manager) has been working in the Chicago theater scene for the past several years as a freelance production manager and stage manager. Select production management credits include work with Teatro Vista, Sideshow Theatre Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and 16th Street Theater. As a stage manager, credits include work with The Goodman Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Oak Park Festival Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Lifeline Theatre. Jennifer is an Artistic Associate with Teatro Vista and 16th Street Theater and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Andrea Enger

Assistant Stage Manager / Wardrobe Manager

Andrea Enger (She/Her) is happy to be working with Porchlight Music Theatre for the second time after working with them on SOPHISTICATED LADIES. Some of their credits include SOUTHERN GOTHIC at WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE, PICNIC at AMERICAN THEATRE COMPANY, and GOOD FRIDAY at ORACLE PRODUCTIONS. They have also worked with ABOUT FACE THEATRE on THIS BITTER EARTH, BULL IN A CHINA SHOP, and SIGNIFICANT OTHER. They have a BA in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago.