'The Great American Trailer Park Musical'

Big hair, bad puns, a girl-group trio and a stripper on the run. Set it all in a place called Armadillo Acres and you've got "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," which opens at Oregon Stage Works, 191 A Street in Ashland, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 20.

First presented at the 2004 New York Musical Theater Festival, "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" enjoyed an off-Broadway run and began touring this year. With music and lyrics by David Nehls, and book by the comedy writer and performer Betsy Kelso, the show presents a heartfelt, humorous look at the lives and loves of the eccentric characters who make up the trailer park community of Armadillo Acres, Florida.

"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" is aimed at all who enjoy a rowdy good time and a little irreverence. The music ranges from country to rock, blues, RB and disco. There is lots of choreography and rapid changes (scene, costume and wig).

Director Peter Alzado says his cast describes area theater at its best.

"We have the veteran players everyone knows and loves," he says. "And then we have people who just moved here, walked into the theater and asked what we were doing."

Tamara Marston is one of the veterans. She has appeared frequently at the Oregon Cabaret Theater in such shows as "Cindy Rella," "Nunsense" and "Kathy and Mo." Her most recent OSW productions include "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well" and "Nickel and Dimed," and she directed OSW's "The Boy Who Talked to Whales."

Tamara Hoffman returns to OSW after appearances in "Durang, Durang" and "The Elephant Man." A performer with both the Laguna Playhouse and the Coronet Theatre in California, her credits also include TV productions such as "Will and Grace" and independent films.

Jennifer Miller-Brian worked professionally in San Francisco and New York City, appearing regularly as a featured extra on "Saturday Night Live." Miller-Brian was seen most recently in OSW's "Witness for the Prosecution" and in Camelot Theatre's "The Grapes of Wrath."

Mia Chiaromonte is a recent transplant from Los Angeles, where she worked primarily with Theatre 68 and The MET. She trained with the South Coast Repertory's young conservatory and received her bachelor's degree in theatre from UC San Diego. This is her first role at OSW.

J. R. Storment makes his OSW debut after appearing in productions of "The Music Man," "Company," "Romeo and Juliet" and "My Very Own Story," which was performed at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Heather Harlan, currently studying theatre and music at Southern Oregon University, comes to OSW after productions at Cascades Theatrical Company and The Obsidean Opera Company in Bend.

Joe Caron returns to OSW after roles in "Holiday Memories and "The Elephant Man."

The production's stage manager is Rowdy Yates, with choreography by Wendy Spurgeon, set design by Doug Ham, light design by Phil Shaw and costume design by Sue Cowper. J. C. Cook is in charge of props and set painting is by Charles Couraud. Aaron Blenkush is both pianist and musical director for the show.

After its Ashland run, "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" will move to the Cascade Theatre in Redding for performances Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 9, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For prices, tickets and reservations, call (530) 243-8877.

"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through April 20. Tickets are $22, $15 for students 21 and under. Tickets are available at the Grocery Outlet in Medford and the Music Coop in Ashland. There will be a two-for-one special on Thursday, March 20, for all patrons who bring proof of trailer park residency. Call the theater for reservations or buy tickets as available at the door (offer not good at outlets). The theater will also offer special $15 tickets for seniors 65 and over at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 23, and at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 27.

See or call 482-2334.

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