This sounds like fun: The Great American Trailer Park Musical. What is it, a chance to make fun of the rednecks, yahoos, crackers and other toothless wonders who stereotypically inhabit trailer parks?
No. The shows not mean-spirited, but its not much of a show, either.
Presented by Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, in conjunction with the University of Central Oklahomas Department of Opera and Music Theatre, Trailer Park opened last week at UCO and transfers this week to the Civic Center Music Hall. Its a loud, garish airhead of a musical thats mildly crude without being edgy.
The show involves the denizens of Armadillo Acres, a Florida trailer park boasting a flowerpot made from a toilet and Christmas lights strung overhead, where a big night out is a trip to the Ice Capades.
Christopher Domanskis set design is appropriately cartoonish, aided by Art Whaleys lighting design and Aaron Patrick Turners disturbingly authentic costumes. This is a wig-intensive show, and Suzette Collins Sroufes fine artificial hairdos run the gamut from beehive to mullet to Goth.
Into this paradise comes Pippi (Ally Ridley), a stripper from Oklahoma City on the run from her marker-sniffing boyfriend. She meets Norbert (Jim Johnson), a tollbooth collector, and lets just say that complications ensue.
Its mildly crude without being edgy.
Serving as sort of a Greek chorus are Betty (Barb Schoenhofer, who, bewigged, bears a startling resemblance to Saturday Night Lives Kristen Wiig), Lin (Kassie Carroll) and Pickles (Kelli Cormack), so-called because she suffers hysterical pregnancy. This distaff trio spends a lot of time digressing about Florida and trailerpark culture, or the lack thereof. They play various characters, including three rubes whose haircuts say business in the front, party in the back. These diversions are superfluous filler added to compensate for a lack of plot.
What this production has going for it is the excellent Renee Anderson as Norberts wife, Jeannie. A wonderful singer and fine actor, Anderson, a knockout earlier this year in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is one of our most reliable and solid theater artists.
She gives the production what little substance it has. Her big number is a song titled Panic, in a scene when an agoraphobe accidentally gets locked out of her trailer. Andersons performance makes Jeannie a sympathetic, if flawed, character, and a hoot, as well.
Trailer Park has some genuinely funny lines, but none better than a two-word response from a Sally Jessy Raphael-like character when Norbert says, Lately, Ive had a lot of stuff goin through my head. It wouldnt make any sense out of context, but its a good one.
Steven Smeltzer, of the UCO faculty, directs and choreographs the production; he also directed the works first national tour.