According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Review: "The Great American Trailer Park Musical"


Let’s be honest-- you know what you’re getting into with THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL. You have come to sit down with Derek McLane’s lovely pastel trailers and hear a drawling PA invite you to turn off your “big city cell phones.” You have come to laugh with (not at, we’re not that sort of people) the self-proclaimed white trash who populate Armidillo Acres, “Florida’s most exclusive trailer park community.” The show is a good-natured send up of how the other half lives-- that is to say, with an ample supply of one-liners, bad perms, and eye shadow.

We are introduced to the cast of characters via direct address by three Armadillo Acres women who make it their business to know everyone else’s-- they keep the plot clipping along, which is fortunate because it isn’t tremendously interesting. The show’s emotional center is in the love triangle among a beat-down working guy, his agoraphobic wife, and a pole-dancer who’s just looking for a nice guy. When it’s snarky, it’s funny, but when it becomes sentimental the songs slow down and the story draws closer to its inevitable lesson about self-worth and making it on one’s own.

Betty Kelso’s book, rampant with jokes which are fast and biting, frequently outshines David Nehls’s music and lyrics. After the rousing disco anthem “Storm’s A-Coming,” we are left with a conclusion heavy with straight-forward ballads reaching for an emotional payoff nobody came to a show called The Great American Trailer Park Musical to see.

Ultimately, the solid ensemble (with stand-out performances from Leslie Kritzer as a solemnly dim teenager and Wayne Wilcox as a jilted, marker-sniffing drifter) throws themselves into the world of Armadillo Acres with such force that it is difficult not to be carried along with them. It’s an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, but one leaves the theater feeling like she’s just eaten a fried Twinkie-- the satisfaction is real, but it’s a little guilty and a lot fleeting.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical
Tickets: $55.00-$75.00
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday @ 8pm, Saturday @ 2pm & 8pm, Sunday @ 3pm & 7pm
Dodger Stages / Stage 1340
West 50th Street Between 8th and 9th Avenues
New York NY 10019

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