Raunchy Rednecks Return As Dramatic License Tackles “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”

Members of the cast of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" get their disco on at Dramatic License. Photo: John Lamb

Members of the cast of “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” get their disco on at Dramatic License. Photo: John Lamb

Flat out fun runs rampant as we get another look at a musical that Stray Dog Theatre did a while back with great success. This time Kim Furlow (an actress in Stray Dog’s production) and her Dramatic License Productions take on the play, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” as Stray Dog is about to launch “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” for the holidays this year. You’ll get a double dose of double wides and who could ask for anything better?

Kim Furlow, reprising her role as one of the three “Greek Chorus” women at the heart of the show, plays it broad in every sense of the word as Betty. Her booming voice and her ability to throw off one-liners (how many are ad libs, I wonder) makes her just a hoot once again. The flimsy, contrived story line is just what’s needed for a visit to a trailer park in Stark, Florida and centers on the three ladies who set up all of the action which includes a husband and wife with marital problems. Jeannie has agoraphobia (and maybe anachraphobia at the insistence of one of our lovely ladies) and her inability to leave the trailer causes problems for hubby Norbert. He wants to celebrate their twentieth anniversary and has even popped for tickets to the Ice Capades, but her fear throws him into the arms of a local ecdysiast who is on the lam from her hot-headed lover. When that lover shows up, all hell breaks loose and a series of unbelievable coincidences bring it all to a hilarious- if not logical- conclusion.

Leah Stewart does her act for three "unusual" men at DLP's "The Great American Trailer Park Musical." Photo: John Lamb

Leah Stewart does her act for three “unusual” men at DLP’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.” Photo: John Lamb

Joining Ms. Furlow in the trio of songbirds is a pair of Stephanies- Stephanie Benware as the “dumb as a box of rocks” Pickles who has a penchant for hysterical pregnancies and Stephanie Merritt as Lin (short for Linoleum) who is suffering from sexual withdrawal as her husband is spending his days (and nights) in jail. These three are a sheer delight from the opening number about being on “This Side of the Tracks” to their banter about everything that goes on in the trailer park. They even dress up as macho men who attend the striptease joint.

You would think that a musical about trailer parks with have a cast filled with actors with three names, but Jamie Lynn Eros is the only one and she is a wonderful as the pent up Jeannie. She was also in the Stray Dog production in a different role and she makes the most of the woman who ties herself to a rope as if she’s going to lose her way as she attempts to take small steps out of the trailer to ease her phobia. Jeffrey Pruett is also a riot as her straying husband. This production has a wealth of strong singing voices and he is one of the best of the lot. His lead in the disco number that ends Act I is worth the price of admission.

Leah Stewart shines as the stripper, Pippi, who belts out the surprisingly good musical score as well. She’s at a crossroads and handles the praise and criticism that come down on her with equal agility. Rounding out the cast is Luke Steingruby as Duke, the boyfriend who carries a gun and a hot temper. His hysterical take on his throw away line, “Pardon the introduction” got to me laughing each time he said it. The entire trailer park- Armadillo Acres, by the way, is filled with clueless, lovable, trailer trash characters.

Kim Furlow is hoisted by cast members during a dream sequence/Sally Jessy Raphael show in "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" at Dramatic License. Photo: John Lamb

Kim Furlow is hoisted by cast members during a dream sequence/Sally Jessy Raphael show in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at Dramatic License. Photo: John Lamb

Well known actor who has killed on the DLP stage before, Alan Knoll,  takes the director’s reins and does a splendid job. He milks every corny line for all it’s worth and makes these folks even dumber on stage than they come across on the page. Stephen Eros plays piano and leads the great band which includes Bob Lowe, Clarence “Clancy” Newell and, on guitar, The Most Interesting Man. Sorta’ fits in with the whole mood of the show. Kyra Bishop has made the most of the scenic design on the small Dramatic License stage while Max Parrilla’s lights set the right mood right down to the fabulous disco number complete with mirror ball. Zachary Stefaniak provides smart choreography and Lisa Hazelhorst’s costumes fit the bill perfectly.

This raucous comedy with music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso probably doesn’t get a lot of play around the country but we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the insanity twice already and now look forward to a Christmas version. It doesn’t sound all that appealing, but “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is great fun and offers a lot of laughs along with a delightful musical score. Dramatic License Productions has it cranked up through September 21st at their unique theatre space in Chesterfield Mall. Give them a call at 636-821-1746 or contact them at dramaticlicenseproductions.org for tickets or more information.


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