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The Great American Trailer Park Musical

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Initially performed at the first annual New York Music Theater Festival in 2004, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, with a book by Betsy Kelso and music and lyrics by David Nehls, opened Off Broadway the following year. In 2006, Trailer Park had its premiere on the U.S. Regional Theater circuit. Two years later, Trailer Park began its first national tour.

Now, following successes in the United Kingdom and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as an Australian premiere in 2010, Trailer Park has arrived in The OC, in an original production at Fullerton’s Stages Theatre, through July 29. Under Jack Millis’ direction and with Kathleen Switzer’s Choreography and Andy Zacharias’ musical direction, this zany staging comes to full fruition as a lampooning of all things having to do with trailer park life. If you live in a trailer park, otherwise known as a prefabricated-housing community, you, according to these cartoonish stereotypes, might be a redneck.

In 90 minutes, and without an intermission, seven capable cast members take this show to the heights of hilarity. Set in the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park in Stark, Florida, the sordid lives of tenants in the park are at issue here. Norbert (the rubber-faced James Daniel Finnerty excels in this role) is married to the acrophobic Jeannie (a marvelous Anna Kate Mohler). Jeannie is afraid to set foot outside her trailer.  Norbert is frustrated. Soon, however, Pippi, a pole-dancing strip tease artist (portrayed by Erin Miller, a beauty, with impressive vocal abilities), moves into Armadillo Acres and begins an affair with the less than noble Norbert.

What’s more, there’s a trio of trailer park divas (Patti Cumby as Betty, Kat Gutierrez as Pickles, and Candice M. Clasby as Lin) who belt out the melodic narrative with such ditties as "This Side of the Tracks," "One Step Closer", and "Flushed Down the Pipes" They are full of low-class charm and disarming insights. Betty, with her sunburned countenance and calves; Lin, with her sexy wiggles; and Pickles, with her unexpected expletives, infuse this show with the bawdy spirit of fun it calls for and deserves. And – in a standout performance as Pippi’s estranged lover, the ink-sniffing, spray can-huffing, Duke – Adam Poynter is a scene snatcher. His rendition of the raucous "Road Kill" song and dance number is crude, rude, and comically irresistible.

Thirteen song and dance routines are played out on Jon Gaws’ inventive set-design and under the lighting generously provided by Carly McNamee. The campy blue-collar costuming is by David Campos. Indeed, with such a devoted cast and consummate crew this Trailer Park is opened for visitors and, for the most part, is in-tune with audience sensibilities (when the first “F” bomb is dropped it’s funny; when then second one explodes, like Nagasaki, it feels gratuitous).  Nevertheless, there’s plenty of fun to be had in this production. And remember, if the trailer is rockin’ don’t bother knockin’. Instead purchase a ticket to The Great American Trailer Park Musical. It’s like taking a knee-slapping peep into the portals of these pre-fabs.

The Great Trailer Park Musical continues at Stages Theatre – 400 East Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 4, Fullerton – through July 29. Evening performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Matinees are Sundays at 2p.m. For reservations, dial (714) 525 – 4484. For online ticketing and further information, visit www.stagesoc.org.

 

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.