Tuesday , February 27 2024
The venerable musical comedy returns to San Antonio in an enthusiastic production at the Cameo Theatre.

Theater Review (San Antonio): ‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical’

Great American Trailer Park Musical at the Cameo
Left to right: Jackie Parma, Sean Salazar, Aaron Isenhower, Erin Erxleben, Krystal Newcomer and Jovi Lee Gonzalez

Welcome to Armadillo Acres, the Florida trailer park of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Its residents are as crude as they come, but also have the habit of bursting into song to poke fun at their blue-collar lives.

There’s Norbert (Sean Salazar) and Jeannie (Renee Scheel), high school sweethearts who married young and produced a child. But after their infant boy was kidnapped, Jeannie became an agoraphobic who hasn’t been able to leave the trailer in 20 years.

Then there are the Girls: Pickles (Jovi Lee Gonzales), Betty (Krystal Newcomer), and Linoleum (Jackie Parma), longtime tenants who also serve as the show’s Greek Chorus, narrating Norbert and Jeannie’s tragic tale. Arriving to disrupt their existence is stripper Pippi (Erin Erxleben), on the run from her abusive boyfriend, Duke (Aaron Isenhower). Of course, Pippi is sex on heels for the desperate Norbert, and it doesn’t take a brain scientist to tell how this story is going to go.

With this lighter-than-air plot, it’s important to hit all of the familiar clichés, and creators Betsy Kelso and David Nehls are mostly on target, touching on such trash tropes as shopping at Wal-Mart, husbands in prison, and bad reality television. Nehls’s songs range in style from country to rockabilly to disco, and they’re all enthusiastically delivered by a talented cast at the Cameo.

Trailer Park kicks off with a rollicking “This Side of the Tracks,” performed by the Girls, and they’re quite an amusing ensemble. Gonzales (who also directed), Newcomer, and Parma have terrific comic timing and good pipes — and they proudly wear Amy Kelleher’s tacky fashions and Denise Ebarra’s over-the-top hairstyles (and make-up) with flair.

Salazar has the perfect baritone voice for the earnest Norbert, and Scheel also possesses exceptional vocal skill. Their first-act duet, “Owner of My Heart,” is effective and surprisingly touching. Erxleben brings the heat as the sultry Pippi, whose signature tune, “The Buck Stops Here,” is appropriately torchy. As the trashy, aerosol-huffing Duke, Isenhower performs a hilarious Act Two opener, “Road Kill,” with a little help from the Girls as his animal “victims.”

The set design by Bill Florie perfectly embodies the tacky milieu, and it’s well-lit by Jonathan Pennington (who also produced). Musical direction by Tom Masinter is on point, as is the choreography by Danielle Martinez. It all makes for an entertainingly trashy evening.

The Great American Trailer Park Musical plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. at the Cameo Theatre, 1123 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio, through December 13. Tickets can be obtained online or by calling (210) 212-5454.

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About Kurt Gardner

Writer, critic and inbound marketing expert whose passion for odd culture knows no bounds.

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