“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!