11th Hour's Musical is a trailer smash

Posted: June 04, 2011

A joint production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" by 11th Hour Theatre Company and Montgomery Theater, staged at Montgomery Theater in Souderton in February, reopened Friday at the Arden in Center City. This is an excerpt from a review published in February.

If you have spandex, prepare to wear it now. You'll look fab as The Great American Trailer Park Musical - a little show with a wallop like a bin full of hissing trailer propane tanks - sprawls gleefully across the stage.

It's an all-American hoot, as kitsch as a teased 'do on an '80s soap-opera heroine. It brazenly dismisses social convention - in this trailer park's garden, not a single stereotype goes untended.

The frolic is masterfully staged by 11th Hour resident director Megan Nicole O'Brien, choreographed for maximum punch by Jenn Rose, and costumed with a healthy regard for reckless extremism by Lauren Perigard.

The show's pull, and the production's sizzle, come from the combination of normally opposing forces: silly and smart, trash and class. Trailer Park, by Betsy Kelso, is at root a conventional love story about a marriage gone sour and the appearance of Another Woman who's likely to hasten its demise.

Set in a Florida trailer park, it involves a toll-taker (Paul McElwee) whose wife (Nancie Sanderson) has been holed up inside their mobile home for 20 years. The other woman is a pole-dancing stripper (Carly Brooke Pearlstein) on the run from her violent, glue-sniffing boyfriend (Michael Doherty).

The story is moved along by a Greek chorus of three busty, in-your-face women - the park's saucy owner (Leah Walton), a sassy resident whose husband is on death row (Marissa Hines), and another who is happily clueless and pregnant (Rachel Camp).

Trailer Park lacerates America's downside life and mocks everything, including itself, with equal vigor, using country music as a natural outgrowth of trailer-park life. And that cast makes spandex look great.


The Great American Trailer Park Musical

A joint production of 11th Hour Theatre Company and Montgomery Theater Company, at the Arden Theatre's Arcadia Stage, 40 N. Second St., through June 19. Tickets: $18-$28. Information: 267-987-9865 or www. 11thhourtheatrecompany.org.


Contact staff writer Howard Shapiro at 215-854-5727 or hshapiro@phillynews.com.

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