The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Stereotypical trailer trash behavior is elevated to art in this latest appeal to narrowly targeted consumer groups at the New Denver Civic Theatre. Genuinely silly, often funny, and occasionally vulgar, The Great American Trailer Park Musical gathers momentum from one rollicking song to the next before climaxing in an original and wholly satisfactory twist.

With media sponsorship from local morning drive and country radio stations, the six-week scheduled run promises to pack 'em in, and they likely shall, judging from the opening night DJ pep rally, the onstage antics, and the lusty response from key audience segments.

Set amongst the pink, chartreuse, turquoise, and tangerine double-wides at Armadillo Acres trailer park in Stark, Florida, the story, as its occasional narration self-consciously notes, has a little something for everyone, including adultery, agoraphobia, beer swigging, chemical sniffing, teenage pregnancy, and guns—truly an American blue-collar soap opera set to music.

Sharon Kay White as Linoleum, Robin Thompson as Betty, and Amy Board as Pickles
(L to R) Sharon Kay White as Linoleum,
Robin Thompson as Betty,
and Amy Board as Pickles
Photo: Trojanovich Photography
The lively three-woman chorus—Linoleum, whose hubby is on death row at the state pen, Pickles, a 17-year old with hysterical pregnancy syndrome, and Betty, the chief gossip—explicate trailer park cultural imperatives while getting things rockin' in "This Side of the Tracks," which also introduces us to Norbert, a toll collector, his fear-ridden wife, Jeannie, and Pippi, an exotic dancer on the run from her ex-boyfriend, Duke.

Much like other popular small screen hits that celebrate mediocrity—going back to All in the Family, including The Simpsons and Married with Children, and forward to South Park and the evening sudser, Desperate HousewivesTrailer Park is as much a sociological primer as it is a potboiler.

Craig Lundquist as Norbert and Alex Ryer as Jeannie
Craig Lundquist as Norbert and
Alex Ryer as Jeannie
Photo: Trojanovich Photography
A flashback to 1983 shows Norbert as a high school jock who's flunking geometry. He courts Jeannie, a math whiz in "One Step Closer." Norbert still flunks, but Jeannie gets pregnant, so they get married and move to a trailer, where they've been ever since. Craig Lundquist and Alex Ryer, two singers as talented as any you'll ever hear, paint a touching tale of high school romance settling into the hum-drum of blue-collar routines.

Brooke Wilson as Pippi
Brooke Wilson as Pippi
Photo: Trojanovich Photography

Brooke Wilson turns up the heat as Pipi in the bluesy, punk-country-burlesque send-up, "The Buck Stops Here," replete with poll-dancing and gyrations that get Norbert's (and everyone else's) attention.

Patric Case as Duke flanked by his headlights (Sharon Kay White, left, and Amy Board, right)
Patric Case as Duke
flanked by his headlights
(Sharon Kay White, left,
and Amy Board, right)
Photo: Trojanovich Photography

Soon, Norbert and Pipi are an item and Jeannie is distraught; then, Patric Case's hyper-metabolic Duke arrives on the scene and all bets are off. Case's own version of Pipi's strip-club bump and grind, "Road Kill," is performed with equal relish and elicits an equally vocal response from the intended audience sectors: females and gay men.

The Nehls and Kelso songbook outdoes most rock musicals in range, and director Kitty Skillman Hilsabeck's choreography is sharp while staying in character with the trailer park residents. Joseph J. Egan's costumes and set playfully explore the kitsch themes in the downscale eclecticism of lower-middle class America.

As Shakespeare showed over 400 years ago, while the classes may turn up their noses at each other, they behave in unmistakably similar patterns. Here's a hilarious and naughty take on the everyday dramas of proletarian life—in which we find the same themes underlying such classics as "The Comedy of Errors" and "Oedipus Rex"—aimed squarely at the groundlings.

The New Denver Civic Theatre's production of The Great American Trailer Park Musical runs through October 21. 303-309-3773.

Bob Bows


Current Reviews | Home | Webmaster