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Jun 26, 2024

The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Lynne Cope Hummell

Photography By

M.Kat
Looking for laughs? come visit the "Trailer Park".

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If you’re looking for some fun this summer, head on down to the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park in Starke, Florida, where you are likely to get caught in a hysterical love triangle, a shoot-out, or a shake-down before the night is over.

The off-beat residents of Armadillo Acres in The Great American Trailer Park Musical are, front row, from left: Pickles (Meagan Berger), Betty (Marisa Martucci), and Lin (Allison Manning); back row, from left: Jeannie (Margaret Crenshaw), Norbert (Mark Erickson) Duke (Justin Stone), and the Park Princess (Mia Hlywa). Not pictured is Pippi (Candice Skingley).

Doesn’t sound like fun? Understood. But you would probably enjoy the crazy stories told (and sung) by the off-beat residents of the fictional trailer park, as shared onstage in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” scheduled for every weekend in July. The comedy musical is the third production by the nonprofit Sea Glass Stage Company in their new home at Coligny Theatre.

“We wanted to bring a light-hearted comedy to Sea Glass Stage,” said director Alex Clark, who is a founding member of the organization. “When we were talking about a fun musical for our summer play, this was our first choice.”

 Sneaking in and out of scenes, Mia Hlywa plays the Park Princess and other occasional roles.

“It’s hilarious!” said Mark Erickson, also a founding member, who plays Norbert in the musical. “We think audiences are going to really love this show. It’s so outrageous, it just makes people laugh.”

High school sweethearts Jeannie (played by Margaret Crenshaw) and Norbert (Mark Erickson) are struggling in their marriage, in large part because Jeannie hasn’t stepped outside their trailer in 20 years – since their young son was kidnapped. Their anniversary is coming up, and Norbert tries to coax Jeannie out with tickets to the Ice Capades, but she tosses them to the ground and Norbert walks out.

Jeannie does try to overcome her fear, practicing a little bit every day to take one more step than the day before. Tying her life preserver to the door seems to help. Each day, she is “One Step Closer.”

The trio of gossips at Armadillo Acres take their regular places in their lawn chairs to discuss happenings in the trailer park. From left are Pickles (Meagan Berger), Betty (Marisa Martucci), and Lin (Allison Manning).

When Norbert’s brother tricks him into going to a local bar, he meets a new resident of the trailer park – Pippi (Candice Skingley), a stripper on the run from her dangerous ex-boyfriend. 

Pippi had been looking for a place to live that’s cheap and “where folks have so many problems of their own that they won’t notice mine.” She found it – and she happened to run into Norbert, who was running from Jeannie. Sparks fly and the two end up spending a lot of time together.

Jeannie becomes aware of the liaison and feels like her love has been “Flushed Down the Pipes.”

The three resident gossips convene often to share the latest trailer park news. Whatever her duties might be, park manager Betty (Marisa Martucci), holder of the master keys and of secrets, finds plenty of time to chat with her neighbors Lin (Allison Manning) and Pickles (Meagan Berger), both of whom have their own issues. Occasionally, the park princess (Mia Hlywa) shows up to add to the fun.

The hard-driving Lin (short for “Linoleum,” because she was born on the floor) thinks she has found a way to spare her husband on death row by hijacking the town’s electric power. She figured out Earle can’t be executed if the electric chair isn’t getting any juice.

The ditzy Pickles is experiencing a hysterical pregnancy that results in a big surprise. When a scary customer makes demands of her at the flan shop where she works, she alerts Pippi and her trailer park posse that a “Storm’s A-Brewin.’”

Meanwhile, Pippi’s marker-sniffing boyfriend Duke (Justin Stone), who might not realize she considers him an “ex,” is hot on her trail, driving recklessly enough to mow down “Road Kill” along the way. He eventually finds his way from Oklahoma to Starke, and specifically Armadillo Acres. 

Duke’s threats along the way don’t seem to work – until he surprises all the residents at once. Panic sets in, heated words are exchanged, and a fight ensues. 

However, nobody dies. In fact, many issues are resolved, a lost love reappears, new relationships are formed, and life at Armadillo Acres settles back into its quirky rhythm – on “This Side of the Tracks.”

It might be difficult to visualize the story from this outline, so it’s a better idea to just come see the live performance and enjoy the hilarity. 

Experienced members of this cast and crew know how to deliver the crazy. “We have history with this show!” Clark said. She stage managed the show with a former theatre company and is excited about directing it for the first time. 

Erickson and Skingley have both performed in previous productions of the show with other theatres. Crenshaw, a 50-year resident of Hilton Head Island, began her community theatre career as a child with Hilton Head Playhouse. The remainder of the cast have been onstage with various theatres in the Lowcountry, including Main Stage Community Theatre, May River Theatre, and Seahawk Stage Company.

This production was choreographed by Dawn Rosa Miller, owner of Bluffton School of Dance since 2003. She has choreographed numerous theatre shows in the area and has won awards for her work. 

Music director is Anna Marie Kuether, director of music and worship arts at Church of the Palms in Okatie. She also was a choral music teacher at H.E. McCracken Middle School in Bluffton. 

The Sea Glass Stage Company, formed in late 2023, continues to make history with each production. This is the largest cast (eight) so far, and the longest run (12 performances).

The musical runs each weekend in July – at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $35 and are available at sgstage.org/tickets. 

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