REVIEW: ‘Route 66’ at Meadow Brook Theatre is Full-Throttle Fun

Grab the gang and see the musical revue Route 66, running now through May 19, 2024, at Meadow Brook Theatre on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

Running over 2,000 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, the iconic Route 66 has made a significant cultural impact on the historical landscape of traveling across the USA. Writer Roger Bean uses that nostalgia, with musical arrangements by Brian Baker, to treat the audience to a coast-to-coast musical journey that tells the story of how this historic highway has evolved through the years (“Used to Be”).  

Mike Dinneen waxes about “The Mother Road” in the musical revue ‘Route 66’ at Meadow Brook Theatre (Photo courtesy of Sean Carter Photography)

Leading us down this musical memory lane are the vocal and comedic talents of Tanner Callicutt, Mike Dinneen, Luke Hodgson, and Conor McShane. Throughout the show, they don various personas such as gas station attendants, truck drivers, greasers, and more. Their smooth four-part harmonies purred like a fine-tuned engine, and each was allowed to let their individual vocals (and other assets) shine.

Conor McShane kept the funny rolling along ‘Route 66.’ (Photo courtesy of Sean Carter Photography)

There were quite a few songs I recognized by their titles such as the Willie Nelson classic, “On the Road Again” and plenty of others that were new to me that I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to. “Bring My Cadillac Back” by Baker Knight and Roy Tann’s “Hot Rod Queen” gave an audience member a chance to join in the fun, but even though the auditorium was packed, it felt like it took the crowd a bit to warm up to the show. The performance that helped get their motors running was the hilarious “The Girl on the Billboard,” performed by Conor McShane. This was the turning point where I noticed the audience getting into what was happening onstage. Four songs later, McShane would have the crowd in stitches again with his comical performance of “Rolaids, Doan’s Pills & Preparation H.”

Tanner Callicutt sings about “The Long Red Line” during ‘Route 66’ at Meadow Brook Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Sean Carter Photography)

By the time this talented quartet sang “Truck Drivin’ Man,” to close the first act, they had the audience howling with laughter. In addition to great singing, McShane showed off his tap-dancing skills, while Mike Dinneen gave us a glimpse of his gams. As the second act opened the room was buzzing with more excitement. Or as the saying goes, ‘Now we’re cooking with gas!’

Luke Hodgson shows the audience who is ‘King of the Road.’ (Photo courtesy of Sean Carter Photography)

McShane stole the spotlight again with “Highway Patrol.” You could tell he was having fun hamming it up, but I got the impression even he was a little surprised by the audience’s exuberant reaction. When Luke Hodgson (a Wayne State University alum) sang Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” the crowd started snapping along long before he prompted them to join in. At this point, the show felt like a concert where everyone was having a great time. Another comical crowd-pleaser was the Beach Boys’ “Little Old Lady from Pasadena.”

In between songs classic car jingles and commercials were played. It was an extra element of entertainment that added to the sentimental atmosphere of the show. And of course, one that those of us in the Motor City can truly appreciate. Unsurprisingly, the audience gave these talented actors a standing ovation before joining in to sing along to “Fun, Fun, Fun/I Get Around” while batting beach balls around the auditorium like teenagers.

Route 66 is an homage to good music, cool cars, and a slice of Americana that never goes out of style. So, get it in gear and see this toe-tapping, handclapping, laugh-out-loud tribute to “The Main Street of America.”

The performance is approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Route 66 is suggested for audience members in middle school and up.

Route 66 is directed by Travis W. Walter with choreography by Debbie Williams. Scenic design is by Brian Kessler, costume design by Karen Kangas-Preston, lighting design by Scott Ross, and sound design by Mike Duncan. Brittanie Nichole Sicker is the stage manager, and Lee Cleaveland is the assistant stage manager.

The band is led by musical director Stacy White on keyboard and includes Jackson Stone on bass and Louis Jones III on drums.

Tickets range from $37 to $46 and are available by calling the Meadow Brook Theatre box office at 248-377-3300 or going online at Student discounts are available at the box office. Groups of eight or more should call 248-370-3316 for group pricing.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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