A RUNAWAY STRIPPER IS THE STRAW THAT STIRS THE COMIC DRINK IN “THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL”
Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy will present the 2005 Off-Broadway hit, THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL, a low-brow laff riot with music and lyrics by David Nehls and a book by Betsy Kelso, on June 30-July 4 and July 7-11 in the Sara Lynn and K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC.
Liz Smith of the NEW YORK POST called THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL a “delicious new musical.” She claimed, “The joint is jammed and jumping with raucous laughter. It’s like ‘The Honeymooners’ meets THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN URINETOWN.”
Hot Summer Nights guest director and co-choreographer Tito Hernandez says, “The show follows the lives of a small Florida trailer park community and how convoluted and complicated their lives become once a stripper on the run [Canady Vance Thomas as Pippi] from her Magic Marker-sniffing boyfriend [Jesse R. Gephardt as Duke] arrives to cause havoc.”
He adds, “This show puts characters in very funny stereotypical situations and circumstances[, a]llowing the audience members to suspend reality and really enjoy a farce that could almost be reality.”
In addition to Canady Thomas and Jesse Gephardt, the Hot Summer Nights’ cast for THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL includes Broadway funny girl Lisa Jolley as Jeannie Garstecki, an agoraphobic 20-year resident of Armadillo Acres trailer park in Strake, Florida; Michael Jones as her husband, Norbert, who was her high-school sweetheart and but now works as a tollbooth collector; Gina Stewart as Norbert and Jeannie’s high-school classmate Betty; Sandi Sullivan as Lin (which is short for Linoleum); and Lauren Barone as Donna, a newlywed better known as Pickles.
Director/choreographer Tito Hernandez recalls, “I first heard about the show when [Hot Summer Nights producers] Lauren [Kennedy] and Alan Campbell gave me the script to read early last Fall and said that this would be a perfect production for me to direct…. What I like best about the production is that it’s a fun adult summer show where the audience doesn’t have to think about much and gets to laugh a lot! I mainly wanted to direct it because I thought it would be a fun challenge and a great vehicle to create comical situations that almost anyone can identify with.”
First performed in 2004 at the annual New York Music Theater Festival, THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL made its Off-Broadway debut, directed by Betsy Kelso and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, with musical direction by David Nehls, on Sept. 27, 2005 at New World Stages Stage I, where it played until Dec. 4, 2005.
In addition to director and co-choreographer Tito Hernandez, the creative team for this Hot Summer Nights production of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL includes producers Alan Campbell, Lauren Kennedy, Hilary Russo, Andrea Shulz Twiss, and Adam Twiss; assistant director and co-choreographer Sherry Lee Allen; musical director Jay Wright; technical director and set and lighting designer Chris Bernier; props and costume designer Casey Watkins; sound designer Brian L. Hunt; and stage manager Christine Rapp. The show’s band includes pianist Jay Wright, guitarist Drew Lile, bass player John Simonetti, and drummer Todd Proctor.
Hernandez says, “The set is typical of a trailer park community with a few theatrical tricks up it’s sleeve…. As with any show, the biggest challenge [in staging THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL] is the short rehearsal period.”
Critical acclaim for previous productions of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL includes choice comments from:
Kevin Manganaro of BROADWAY.COM: “A sparkling, sharp irreverence lights up this musical and makes it one of the most laugh-out-loud shows in town.”
THE NEW YORKER: “Joyful and unashamedly vulgar, Betsy Kelso’s comic fable about women in a Florida trailer park and their no-account men is more fun than a chair-throwing episode of Jerry Springer set to music.”
Liesl Schillinger of the NEW YORK SUN: “‘South Park’ meets ‘Desperate Housewives’ in this big-hearted new musical comedy with a cheeky script by Betsy Kelso [and] an infectious score by David Nehls …. TRAILER PARK sparkles with treasure.”
Matthew Murray of TALKIN’ BROADWAY: “This wheel-spinning, mud-splattering good time of a show is the theatrical equivalent of a bag of Doritos. You can’t get enough. Who could expect a thrillingly trashy Greek chorus of trailer park matrons whose hysterical musical stylings all but redefine the girl-group-as-cultural-commentator craze? Or a number with enough show-stopping electricity to trump every musical that opened on Broadway last season? Joys like these are rare enough in today’s biggest hits.”
The 2010 season of Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy also includes Ariel Dorfman’s chilling psychological study DEATH AND THE MAIDEN (July 28-Aug. 1 and Aug. 4-8) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s one-act song cycle TELL ME ON A SUNDAY (Aug. 18-Sept 5), starring Raleigh native, Broadway star, and Hot Summer nights producer Lauren Kennedy. TELL ME ON A SUNDAY will run Aug. 18-22 and 25-29 in the Kennedy Theater in the Progress Energy Center in Raleigh and Sept 1-5 in Barton College’s Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre in Wilson.
Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy presents THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL at 8 p.m. June 30-July 3 and July 7-10 and 3 p.m. July 4 and 11 in the Sara Lynn and K.D. Kennedy, Jr. Theater in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $22 ($18 students and seniors). BOX OFFICE: 866/811-4111 or https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/712605.
- SHOW: http://www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org/trailerpark.asp.
- PRESENTER: http://www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org/.
- VENUE: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=29.
- PARKING: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=37.
- DIRECTIONS: http://www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org/directions.asp and http://www.progressenergycenter.com/page.php?mode=privateview&pageID=36.
- The Musical: http://trailerparkmusical.betsykelso.com/ (official website) and http://www.lortel.org/LLA_archive/index.cfm?search_by=show&title=The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Internet Off-Broadway Database).
- David Nehls: http://www.lortel.org/LLA_archive/index.cfm?search_by=people&keyword=name&first=David&last=Nehls&middle= (Internet Off-Broadway Database).
- Betsy Kelso: http://betsykelso.com/index.html (official website) and http://www.lortel.org/LLA_archive/index.cfm?search_by=people&first=Betsy&middle=&last=Kelso (Internet Off-Broadway Database).