Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Randolph produces “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”

UPDATE: After inclement weather caused the cancellation of the final showing of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, another performance has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m.

The newest production from the Randolph College theatre department invites audiences to come laugh along with the residents of Armadillo Acres in what Talkin’ Broadway called a “wheel-spinning, mud-splattering good time of a show.”

The Great American Trailer Park Musical opens in Thoresen Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with shows each evening through Monday. The comedy tells a story of perseverance as the main characters deal with challenges in their lives.

Brooke Edwards, the Randolph theatre professor directing the show, said the show is entirely comedic and not to be taken seriously. “It’s about keeping on keeping on. It is pure entertainment,” she said. “It has a lot of fun music and really ridiculous characters. We have had a really good time.”

She could not even recite a sentence summarizing the plot without breaking into laughter. “An agoraphobic wife and her toll collector husband face challenges in their marriage when a stripper, who is running from her crazy ex-boyfriend, moves into their trailer park.”

The show centers on Jeannie (Marianne Virnelson ’17) and Norbert Garstecki (Kirk Mortensen). Jennie’s fears have confined her to her trailer for 20 years ever since their son was kidnapped, but she hopes to prepare herself to go out for the couple’s upcoming anniversary—if their marriage survives the arrival of Pippi (Claudia Troyer ’14), who has moved to town in hopes of starting over. The story is narrated by a trailer park trio of Betty (Emma Bartholomew ’14), Linoleum “Lin” (Emily Sirney ’14), and Donna “Pickles” (Grace Cummins ’16). Bentley Kennedy-Stone ’16 rounds out the cast as Duke, Pippi’s angry ex-boyfriend.

The show proceeds through hilarious events and ends with the reuniting of the Garsteckis with each other—and their long lost son.

The 90-minute show includes musical styles such as 1940s swing, 1950s rockabilly, ’70s disco, and ’80s rock. Edwards said Kelly Malone Dudley ’95 infused the choreography with dance moves that accompany those musical genres.

The set, the costumes, and the acting were planned to emphasize the over-the-top nature of the show so the audience can enjoy it as the spectacle it is and laugh with, rather than at, the cast. “I just hope everybody has a good laugh and that they feel good when they leave,” Edwards said.