“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is an offensive slice of brilliance. Yet while the language may be offensive to some; it is never gratuitous or unwarranted. The book by Betsy Kelso is a wonderful story line for a musical. Music and Lyrics by David Nehls are exceptional. Most importantly for any audience is that the songs add to the story rather than detract with distraction as is often the case for some of the latest musicals.
This production is a collaboration between Oklahoma CityRep Theatre and the University of Central Oklahoma Music Theatre and Broadway Tonight. The partnership is a great and intuitive blending for both entities.
Steven Smeltzer, Director and Choreographer is on the UCO Musical Theater faculty. Under Broadway Tonight Producer, Dr. Greg White, Director of Music Theatre at UCO and Donald Jordan, Artistic Director for CityRep, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is an unparalleled smash hit.
Music Director and Conductor Mariann Searle, Costume Designer Aaron Patrick Turner, Scene Designer Christopher Domanski, Lighting Designer Art Whaley and Assistant Director Taylor Radke lead a competent and finely tuned technical crew in a masterful production.
With this expertise to back them up, the stars of the show cannot lose. And they do not lose a moment of excitement and thrills. They are, without fail, flawless in performance.
Barb Schoenhofer as Betty, Kassie Carroll as Lin and Kelli Cormack as Pickles are the three staple residents of a typical trailer park. With their own intricate stories, they are delectable in the portrayals and function as an exceptional chorus. Each of these great gals have a voice that delights, a character that shocks and a clarity that awes as they tell the somewhat sordid tale of Norbert, Jeannie, Pippa and Duke.
Duke, played by Brandon Lonza is unrestrained and outrageous. He has the talent to entice the audience into believing him, and to stay away from trailer parks and the seedier side of OKC!
Pippa is the ‘other woman’ of the piece and Ally Ridley keeps her guts and a heart of gold hidden under a spectacular bosom. Ridley’s voice is capable of wrenching the heart strings and listening to her brings joy, empathy and a certain unpalatable truth.
With all of this wonderful song and showmanship, the two highly professional leads shine brightly in their performances. Jim Johnson as Norbert, the frustrated toll-taker and Renee Anderson as Jeannie his wife with twenty years of tragic life are both amazingly powerful singers with beautiful voices. Johnson’s voice fills the hall and his acting ability is certain. Anderson has a voice that actually soars and captures, then projects Jeannie perfectly.
Yes, this show may contain offensive language and it is also, damn sexy! Not all audiences will be comfortable attending. Nevertheless there is absolutely no gratuitous language or skin – only a tasteful representation of a somewhat tasteless segment of society.
UCO has done a splendid job of presenting “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at Mitchell Hall. This weekend the show is presented at the CityRep facility. Showtimes are 8pm on Friday and Saturday night at the Freede Little Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall located at 201 N. Walker Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City. Matinee performances at the Freede Little Theatre are at 4pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday. Those times are for this upcoming weekend, May 27, 28 & 29th. Call 405.297-2264 for reservations now or visit http://www.okcciviccenter.com/. Also visit CityRep at www.cityrep.com. Don’t miss this show!
It is time at last to let the ‘shpuunt’ out of the bag! If anyone can ever tell us what it is–but decides not to—that would be David Ives. “Lives of the Saints” is currently showing at Ghostlight Theatre Club in the Paseo District of Oklahoma City. Author Ives may have clued in director Emily Etherton, regarding ‘shpuunt’ otherwise she would be unable to ‘cloomna floofa himna flek’ so beautifully and with such a great cast too! Anyone confused by this will be all straightened out once they check out this production showing through May 28. One thing is clear: “Lives of the Saints” is not only absurd, it is hilarious. The show is a series of separate sketches depicting outrageously impossible situations. Rather like a variety show in the Saturday Night Live and Monte Python genre.
Etherton’s direction is inspired and the cast delivers superb timing and control. Each separate scene is a gem and six gems are performed marvelously. However the seventh scene is more than a mere jewel, ‘Lives of the Saints’ gives us the title of the entire play as a twinkling beautiful star without the least bit of nonsense. This glimpse into the lives of two elderly Catholic ladies preparing the funeral breakfast for the recently departed husband of their friend is magnificent. Starring Josh Irick and Ian Clinton as two of the most beautiful and humorous women of the modern world, this slice of Americana is delightfully amusing. Both of these actors must have had wonderful grandmothers, and they paid as much attention to them as they do the director!
Irick is also wonderful as a fellow in love with his washing machine in ‘Soap Opera’. ‘ She must be a dead wringer for his mom’ is the only bit of wordplay not heard in this funny sketch. Jeni White and Victoria Stahl keep us in stitches as the real women compete with technology and the Maytag repairman commercial unites with “As the World Turns”. Also tickling the funny bone with a little religious and language development is the sketch call ‘Babel’s in Arms’. This skit, starring Clinton and Jason McKelvy along with White inspires the paragraph above. Fortunately, Clinton and McKelvy are too adept at ‘clooma floofa whatever’ that White does not notice they forgot the ‘shpuuunt’.
Rick Foresee as the Vicar in ‘The Mystery at Twickham Vicarage’ is quite versatile along with fellow cast members; White, Stahl, Irick and Clinton. Tyler Waits is exceptional in ‘Enigma Variations’ along with fellow cast members: White, Stahl, Irick and Foresee. Audience favorites includes ‘Captive Audience’ – ‘oh Rob’ and for travelers: ‘Arabian Nights’.
The line-up at Ghostlight Theatre Club with “Lives of the Saints” should be included for any sophisticated audience who can’t help laughing. Etherton cast and directs with skilled technical support from a dedicated crew.
For ticket information visit www.ghostlightokc.com or call 405.286.9412. “Lives of the Saints” shows through May 28 Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00pm at Ghostlight Theatre Club. Ghostlight near the Paseo district is located at 3110 N. Walker in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Fantastic fantasies are the bridge adults use to recapture the dreams of childhood lost. Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is the book that showed us that our adult interpretations of childhood dreams and impressions are quite universal. The adaptation by Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus translate Carroll’s wonderful book into a fine stage production. Director Shawna Linck has the daunting task of bringing the play to life for Poteet Theatre audiences.
The play is a difficult project to mount with a large cast of unique characters. Of course the first order of business is to find the perfect youngster to bring Alice to life. Anna Hall is exactly the right young lady for this part. A fifth grade student, Hall brings a great deal to the interpretation of Alice and only a bit more experience is needed to fine tune some of her recitation skills in important pieces such as ‘Jabberwocky’. With the first week under her belt, the slightly rushed versions will settle into delightful cadences.
The second important task Linck accomplishes is to create a set and assemble a cast that illuminates the fantasy for Alice and the audience. Linck does this expertly with direction and design. Linck’s set design is well done and is beautifully complemented by the exquisite costuming from Jackie Smola. The actors fill the costumes and the space with skill and subtle nuance creating illusions capable of luring the audience into the dream. Outstanding Performances by Stephen Dillard-Carroll as the Caterpillar, Tyler Barton and Court Kilhoffer as the Frog and Fish Footmen and Allyson Caldwell as the Cheshire Cat play opposite Hall’s Alice beautifully. Kyle Anderson as the March Hare and Alex Prather as the Mad Hatter alongside the young and extremely talented Nolia Sweatt as the Dormouse create a delightful scene for the famous tea party. Later on David Mays as the Gryphon further delights the audience with his versatility in interplay with the Mock Turtle done by Jack Nortz.
Many of the essential and distinct characters are double cast and this may affect some performances with the downside of less rehearsal for the actors. Unfortunately that seems to be the case with the Red and White Chess Queens, Truda Hibbs and Kay Lehman. These actresses seemed to be a little unsure of lines and character. The Chess Queens are also played by Briana Strahorn and Kristin Stang. Michael Howlett as the White Rabbit comes across quite nicely (also played by Ben White), as do the Duchess (Dana Palmer, Dawn Deckman-Moeller and Julie Prock) and the Queen of Hearts, (Dawn Deckman-Moeller, Julie Prock, Dana Palmer). Additionally three actresses alternate the parts of the Sheep, the Cook and Tweedledum & Tweedledee. The performances are exceptional but the degree of double and triple casting in this show combined with character make up make it a little difficult to properly acknowledge the actors doing the roles.
Other notable performances are given by Jim Gabe as Humpty Dumpty, David Palmer as The White Knight and Joe Moore as The King of Hearts. These roles require one of-a kind actors! All the cards in the show are played by – cards! (At heart anyway). In the animal department, the birds are excellent and the mouse ( Greyson Giese) is very well done. The horse is not double cast but requires two actors, Brenna Noble and Rachel Conn, and the two dance beautifully together. The crab is also not a double casting, but an animal requiring two bodies, Emily Payne & Meg Linck. These two not only keep the crab together but are great as the Dream Alice’s in the beginning of the show.
“Alice in Wonderland” can be seen at Poteet Theatre at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15th Street through May 22, 2011. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. For ticket information call 405.609.1023 or visit www.poteet theatre.com