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Performing Arts

Theater on wheels

Local troupes hitch together for ‘The Great American Trailer Park Musical.’

Eric Webb May 11th, 2011

The Great American Trailer Park Musical
8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Mitchell Hall Theater, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond

Great American Trailer Park Musical

Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre has partnered with the University of Central Oklahoma’s Broadway Tonight Series and the college’s Department of Opera and Music Theatre for “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.”

It’s the Oklahoma premiere of a one-of-kind music experience celebrating a true icon of American life, the trailer park, and the strange and wonderful creatures who dwell there.

“Trailer Park” is set in Armadillo Acres, Fla.’s most exclusive trailer park, home to larger-than-life characters like a bleached-blond matriarch, an agoraphobic wife, her cheating husband, a stripper on the run, her markersniffing ex-husband, a biker gal and a pregnant woman.

After opening off-Broadway in 2006, “Trailer Park” went on tour under the direction of Steven Smeltzer. Now teaching music theater at UCO, Smeltzer returns to helm. He said he knows these characters well, having grew up in central Florida.

“We all have colorful relatives in our past who are very much like these ‘Trailer Park’ characters,” he said. “I wanted to have fun paying homage to these people and their struggles, not just make fun of them.”

“Trailer Park” is the most recent in a series of collaborations between CityRep and local universities According to Don Jordan, CityRep’s artistic director, working with the company is many students’ first experience on a professional Equity show.

“Helping them to learn protocol,  as well as the speed and intensity of the professional theater, is a valuable part of the experience,” he said.

“Also, the chance to work alongside well-respected professionals gives the students a chance to observe seasoned veterans practicing their craft.”

Along with the usual challenges inherent in mounting a professional production, “Trailer Park” offered a unique hitch, because both the CityRep and Broadway Tonight audiences wanted the show in their venues.

A compromise was struck so the two-week run would be split between the UCO campus and Civic Center Music Hall; “Trailer Park” will play the latter May 20-22.

“Any show can be made to tour with enough planning and creative ingenuity,” Jordan said. “If Disney could move ‘Lion King,’ I felt certain we could relocate our ‘Trailer Park’!”

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