Sunday, August 5, 2012


Welcome to Armadillo Acres Trailer Park, the redneck little homely haven where the action of The Great American Trailer Park Musical unfolds.  Stray Dog Theatre closes its ninth season with this 2005 off-Broadway show, and this production charms with a talented cast and solid creative contributions.

The cross-section of this Starke, Florida community is absolutely trashtastic!  You get an immediate sense of that when you lay your eyes on David Blake's scenic design as you walk in.  Several perfectly inelegant trailers are bookended by a variety of road signs -- signs that read everything from "State Prison Next Exit" to "Parkview Liquor and Groceries".  Our three members of the Greek chorus, "the Girls", Betty, proprietor of Armadillo Acres (Kim Furlow), "Lin", whose hubby is on death row (Kay Love), and Pickles, seventeen and pregnant (Jessica Tilghman), introduce themselves, their digs, and the happenings at the trailer park in their engaging opening number, "This Side of the Tracks".  These three also step into some supporting roles from time to time, vocally back up many of the numbers, and sound great together.

Kay Love (Lin), Kim Furlow (Betty)
and Jessica Tilghman (Pickles).
Photo credit: John Lamb
The story centers around Norbert (Zachary Stefaniak) and Jeannie Garstecki (Lindsey Jones), who are about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary with a magical night out at the Ice Capades.  It's an ambitious endeavor, because Jeannie is agoraphobic, and literally hasn't been out of the house in forever because of an unfortunate family incident that happened years ago.  This frustrating situation causes Norbert's eye to wander towards the newest resident of Armadillo Acres -- a stripper named Pippi (Jamie Lynn Marble) who is on the run from her psycho, heat packin', road killin', sharpie sniffin' ex-boyfriend Duke (Keith Parker Jr.).

Zachary Stefaniak (Norbert Garstecki), Kay Love (Lin),
Kim Furlow (Betty), Jamie Lynn Marble (Pippi)
and Jessica Tilghman (Pickles).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Justin Been's terrific direction maintains a well-paced clip, and our three local yokel "tour guides" are boisterous and wonderful in their roles.  Furlow, a fantastic character actor who does southern really well, leads the pack as Betty.  Kay Love's "Lin" does a great job with "That's Why I Love My Man", and Jessica Tilghman is very funny as Pickles as well as her additional roles.  Jamie Lynn Marble's Pippi has a strong-ass voice, and engages you enough to make you kind of root for her, even though she's "the other woman".  Zachary Stefaniak's Norbert Garstecki along with a convincing Lindsey Jones as Jeannie handle their big numbers very nicely and Jones really sells the number, "Panic".  Keith Parker Jr.'s Duke doesn't come into the picture until the second act, but he makes quite an impression when he does with the number, "Road Kill".  This cast looks good cutting loose with JT Ricroft's lively choreography, and they excel in the ensemble numbers, particularly a Sally Jessy Raphael styled dream sequence and the sparkly act one closer, "Storm's A-Brewin'".  They also look appropriately trashy in Alexandra Scibetta Quigley's costumes, and the band handles the 50's styled rock 'n' roll score beautifully.

Kim Furlow (Betty), Kay Love (Lin), Keith Parker Jr. (Duke)
and Jessica Tilghman (Pickles).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Trailer Park may be a little thin on plot, but its low-brow residents give high-brow calibre laughs with a satisfying evening of double-wide entertainment.  It's playing at Tower Grove Abbey until the 18th.

(8•14)  UPDATE!!  Stray Dog is holding over for two additional dates -- August 24 & 25!  Now you have no excuse...


Music/lyrics by David Nehls
Book by Betsy Kelso 
Directed by Justin Been
Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Ave.
through August 25 | tickets: $18 - $20
Performances Thursday to Saturday at 8pm, final Saturday performances are at 2pm and 8pm
Kay Love (Lin), Lindsey Jones (Jeannie Garstecki),
Zachary Stefaniak (Norbert Garstecki), Jamie Lynn Marble (Pippi)
and Jessica Tilghman (Pickles).
Photo credit: John Lamb
Kim Furlow (Betty), Kay Love (Lin), Lindsey Jones (Jeannie Garstecki), Jessica Tilghman (Pickles), Jamie Lynn Marble (Pippi), Zachary Stefaniak (Norbert Garstecki) and Keith Parker Jr. (Duke).
Scenic design by David Blake; lighting design by Tyler Duenow; costume design by Alexandra Scibetta Quigley; choreography by JT Ricroft; musical direction by Chris Petersen; audio engineer, Au Nguy.
The Band:
Percussionist, Clarence "Clancy" Newell; electric bass guitar, Bob McMahon; acoustic and electric guitar, Adam Rugo.

1 comment:

  1. Best show I have seen in quite some time...laughed so hard, my cheeks hurt!