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BWW Reviews: Dramatic License Productions' Humorous Presentation of THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL

The Great American Trailer Park Musical, the latest show by Dramatic License Productions, is a nutty little work that lampoons the denizens of its community, as well as a number of aspects of American culture, like the daytime reality TV shows made popular by the likes of Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer. It may be short on plot, but the songs are generally catchy, the characters are sublimely absurd, and the jokes come fast and furious.

Not all trailer parks are quite as colorful and peculiar as the one depicted in Stark, Florida, but as with any stereotype, there's always a grain of truth in what we perceive. The story, as simplistic as the plot may be, is driven by a trio of narrators (Kim Furlow, Stephanie Benware and Stephanie Merritt) who relate the details of the sordid affairs of their neighbors; in this case a couple who have grown apart since the abduction of their young son. It's driven the wife, Jeannie Garstecki, to become agoraphobic, while her frustrated husband, Norbert Garsteck, has begun to stray.

Kim Furlow brings considerable energy and enthusiasm to the proceedings as our lead guide, Betty. She's flanked on one side by Stephanie Merritt's horny Lin, which is short for Linoleum (because that's where she was born), and on the other side by Stephanie Benware as the foul-mouthed and perpetually hysterically pregnant Pickles. Leah Stewart does nice work as Pippi, a newly arrived stripper at the local Litter Box, who winds up falling for the neglected Norbert, wonderfully essayed by Jeffrey Pruett. His struggling wife Jeannie is played sympathetically by Jamie Lynn Eros, and Luke Steingruby neatly rounds out the cast as the marker-sniffing Duke, who's trying to track down Pippi.

Alan Knoll does a splendid job of directing this piece, and draws solid performances all around. Kyra Bishop's scenic design manages to capture the proper atmosphere even though the stage is fairly small. Stephen Eros contributes the sharp musical direction as well as playing piano with the band that includes: Bob Lowe (bass), Clancy Newell (percussion), and The Most Interesting Man (guitar). They're able to capture the country/rock/disco/ballad essence of the score by David Nehls (book by Betsy Kelso). Zachary Stefaniak's choreography may be reigned in by the size of the area he has to work with, but the cast makes the most of it, particularly during a disco number that livens up the first act.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical features an endless stream of gags that range the gamut from clever to crude, some hitting their mark squarely, while others seem a bit dated. But, this is definitely a crowd-pleasing show that provides a lot of amusing moments, so check it out in the Art Space at Chesterfield Mall playing through September 21, 2014.

Photo Credit: Zachary Stefaniak

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