The musical ‘Trailer Park’, a salty send-off of pop culture

When Pippi, a woman running away from her latest love mistake, finds herself in the middle of the Armadillo Acres trailer park in the less-than-picturesque town of Starke, Florida, she thinks it’s a place “where people have so many problems. of their own, they won’t notice mine much.

And it’s true that the inhabitants of the double-widths that dot the landscape have their fair share of peccadilloes, ranging from hysterical pregnancies to agoraphobia to an overly healthy appetite for gossip. But Pippi’s presence in the park will upend life in Armadillo Acres in potentially worse ways than the tropical storm battering the town.

That’s the situation in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” which opened the American Theater Company’s season Friday at Tulsa PAC. The show, with music and lyrics by David Nehls and a book by Betsy Kelso, is a salty wacky send-up of all things tacky about late 20th-century pop culture, divisive reality TV shows and confessionals to television commercials for everything from toilet bowl cleaners to fake Japanese knives.

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Nehls’ score is a pastiche of pop styles that often evokes familiar songs such as “It’s Raining Men” and “Ball of Confusion.” But it also gives the cast, who are loaded with impressive voices, the chance to indulge in all sorts of over-the-top emotions as they lament about how love was “Flushed Down the Pipes” or how to survive. living “This side of the tracks.

At the heart of the show — and a heart it has — is the love story of Jeannie (Kara Staiger) and Norbert (Sean Rooney), high school sweethearts whose marriage hasn’t been the same since. that the couple’s only child has been abducted. while Jeannie was at the hair salon.

The tragic events turned Jeannie into an agoraphobic, unable to set foot outside her trailer. Norbert tries to entice her with the promise of a 20th anniversary celebration at the Ice Capades, but when even that doesn’t work, he heads to the local strip club, where he gets the chance to meet his new employee. , Pippi (Kristen Simpson), who offers to drive him home, as well as a few other services.

Overseeing it all is a trio of longtime park residents, Betty (Jennifer Lynn), Lin, as in “Linoleum” (Leah Rose) and Pickles (Claire Sbannotto), who serve as a kind of Greek chorus to all permutations. of the plot.

Director Karlena Riggs keeps the action at a slightly less frantic pace around Richard Ellis’ moving set (the performance we saw on Sunday afternoon had some slight glitches that actually seemed to work with the comedy rather than distract it ). Christy Stalcup led the four-piece band in a crisp performance from Nehls’ score.

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is definitely not aimed at young people, but even its saltiest moments contain a bit of sweetness. And, as is the case with just about every “great American musical,” love – or something like that – wins out in the end.

“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” continues with performances Thursday through Saturday, October 13-15, at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St. For tickets: 918-596-7111,

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