Laughs Abound in the TRAILER PARK at Montgomery Theater

by Walter Bender

THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL continues at Montgomery Theater in Souderton PA through March 5.

I attended the preview performance of Montgomery Theater’s latest production, THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso. Produced in partnership with the 11th Hour Theatre Company and directed by Megan Nicole O’Brien, TRAILER PARK is a laugh-a-minute spoof of every white trash stereotype and then some!

The plot is simple…there are 3 ladies who live in the trailer park who narrate the story. Much like the street urchins in Little Shop of Horrors, the residents appear in different costumes throughout the story, providing narration, vocal backups when needed, and comic filler. They are joined by a married couple…he’s a toll-taker at the interstate, she’s agoraphobic. She’s trying to overcome her agoraphobia in time for her 20th anniversary, because her loving husband purchased tickets for…the Ice Capades! Throw into the mix a stripper on the run from her loony boyfriend and there is quite the recipe for laughs.

Rachel Camp, Marissa Hines, and Leah Walton are Pickles, Lin and Betty respectively. They are the constants throughout the show. Their interplay was hilarious, keeping the audience gasping for breath at times. Ms. Camp sparkled as the young somewhat-naïve pregnant Pickles (now you understand the name, eh?) Paul McElwee and Nancie Sanderson are Norbert and Jeannine, the married couple deeply in love who encounter some obstacles. Their characters were spot on. Mr. McElwee had a rough vocal start, but as his voice warmed, so did his excellent performance. Ms. Sanderson has a beautiful voice and has great comedic timing. Carly Brooke Pearlstein is Pippi, the stripper who is trying to escape her boyfriend and who moves into the trailer park creating havoc for everyone. Ms. Pearlstein has a great voice with tremendous flexibility. In fact, flexible is a VERY apt word when describing Carly, as you will see during one scene. No spoilers, but one dance move had the audience gasping! Rounding out the cast is Michael Doherty as Duke, the boyfriend who has some anger management issues. Mr. Doherty is the comic highlight of the show, his character so comically out of control it is impossible not to howl with laughter.

With all the hilarity, there is music…and lovely music it is. Some of the songs are beautiful, some are terrific parodies. The entire cast has big voices and uses them to perfection. The score parodies country/western, folk, rock, and even disco…you have to see the disco number to believe it. Kudos to Musical Director Dan Kazemi and Choreographer Jenn Rose for some inspired production numbers.

Mention has to be made of the set. Putting a trailer park on the Montgomery Theater stage is no small feat, but for Maura Roche (Scenic Designer) and R. Cameron Purdy (Technical Director) it was another in a series of beautiful and amazingly functional sets. The set pieces morph when needed into different scenery, one of the trailer walls rotates from exterior to interior view, and there is a change in the flagpole that has to be seen to believe.

Even with some minor issues during the preview, the audience (and your reviewer!) loved this production. The laughs are constant, the characters terrific, the music beautiful. This production has something for everyone. This is now one of my favorite musical comedies, and one that I had not heard of prior to visiting Montgomery Theater. Find your way to Souderton to see this terrific production.

by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso
Directed by Megan Nicole O’Brien
Produced in partnership with the 11th Hour Theatre Company
February 3 – March 5, 2011
Montgomery Theater
124 North Main Street
Souderton, PA 18964

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