‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical’ at Rockville Musical Theatre

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When a show begins with a “Greek chorus” that is part Sorority girls, part Girl-Band, and a lot of “trailer trash,” you know you are in for a great time. The perfectly mismatched set of Rockville Musical Theatre’s The Great American Trailer Park at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn was a welcome eye-sore as you enter the small theater and what was about to unfold was an enjoyable look at how those live on “This Side of The Tracks.”

Elizabeth Hester (Lin), Elissa Borzilleri (Betty), and Julia Donato (Pickles). Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.
Elizabeth Hester (Lin), Elissa Borzilleri (Betty), and Julia Donato (Pickles). Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.

The show is a full evening of thoroughly enjoyable (and hummable) songs by David Nehls that are strung together by a silly plot (Book by Betsy Kelso) about an agoraphobic housewife who’s toll-booth collector husband is having an affair with a stripper who has a Sharpie-sniffing/gun wielding ex-boyfriend chasing her. Like I said, silly. And that didn’t matter one bit, because the cast executed the silliness impeccably.

Leading the madness was stripper Pippi, played with passionate fervor by Amanda Spellman. As the forlorn stripper, Spellman plays the emotion of the character with a joyful sadness and brings depth to a character with not too many redeeming qualities. As the cheating spouse/toll collector, Matt Williams, brings a simplicity to the loveable loser, Norbert. Williams has a pleasant voice that was engaging and sweet. Filling out the rest is Jason Damaso as Duke and Meghan Williams Elkin as the agoraphobic Jeannie.

While the show centered around this odd love quadrangle, the real stars of the show were the three girls who act as a narrator of sorts, giving us their unique commentary on the action on stage and filling out the scenes playing other characters from male clientele at the strip club to road kill. Elissa Borzilleri as a trailer park madam, Betty, commands the stage and has a great moment playing a hybrid of Sally Jesse Raphael and Dr. Phil. Joining Borzilleri is the adorable Julia Donato who plays the “kid” of the trio, the perpetually pregnant Pickles. Filling out the trio is the vigorous Linoleum, Elizabeth Hester, who has the strongest voice and stage presence amongst the very adept cast.

The cast of 'The Great American Trailer Park Musical.' Photo by Elli Swink.
The cast of ‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical.’ Photo by Elli Swink.

I give a lot of credit to Director Lee Michele Rosenthal, for not only assembling the perfect cast, but for managing to keep the actors from crossing the line into caricature and giving life to these very broad painted characters. Rosenthal made great choices with the simple set (designed by Rosenthal and Bill Brown) and effective lighting design by Rick Swink.

The Great American Trailer Trash Musical plays through April 20th, so make sure you stop by the park and pop a beer with the ladies and see how those who live on “This Side of the Tracks” live.

Running time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, with no intermission.

Contains adult language and sexual situations.

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The Great American Trailer Trash Musical plays through April 20, 2014 on the weekends at Rockville Musical Theatre performing at The Gaithersburg Arts Barn- 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For Tickets, call (301) 258-6394, or visit the Gaithersburg Arts Barn website for details. To purchase tickets online, click the “Winter Classes” link on the right side of the page, then click “Arts Barn Theater” on the left. You are required to be registered with the City of Gaithersburg Recreation program, which may take 1-2 business days if you are requesting a new personal ID. Call –it’s easier!

LINKS

Rockville Musical Theatre Opens ‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical April 4th at The Arts Barn by Ellen Ryan.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical official website.

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