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New York Theater

The Great American Trailer Park Musical

A blue mylar sky sparkles behind a chain-link fence that backs the five trailers central to Derek McLane's scenic design for "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," a glitzy, brash image perfect for this incredibly tuneful, campy, ultimately shallow show.

The guides for this musical about life in Armadillo Acres in Stark, Fla. are Betty, Linoleum, and Pickles, bleached blondes (kudos to Josh Marquette's wigs) reminiscent of the urchins from "Little Shop," who have the moves of all such girl groups thanks to choreographer Sergio Trujillo.

Betsy Kelso's slim book and rapid-fire production focuses on Norbert and Jeannie's marriage, which is at a crossroads after 20 years. She's not left their trailer since their son was kidnapped as an infant. When Pippi, an exotic dancer on the run from a jealous, marker-sniffing boyfriend, arrives, she proves to be the spice Norbert needs while Jeannie works up the courage to venture outside for her anniversary date -- a trip to "something classy:" the Ice Capades.

David Nehls' score bolsters the proceedings immensely. His tunes, a grand mix of country-western, pop, and Broadway razzmatazz, have lyrics that cleverly reference everything from Wal-Mart to Ginzu knives. In "Flushed Down the Pipes," Kaitlin Hopkins' sympathetic Jeannie bemoans a marriage "in the hands of the Tidy Bowl man."

Hopkins isn't the only one giving a top-notch performance here. The company members uniformly give their all to the material, from Linda Hart's bombastic Betty to Leslie Kritzer's "dumb as a box of hair" Pickles to Marya Grandy's embittered Linoleum. Shuler Hensley brings emotional depth to Norbert. One understands his attraction to Orfeh's superlatively sassy Pippi. Wayne Wilcox rounds out the company marvelously as her short-fused boyfriend.

These performances and Nehls' score will most likely turn "Trailer Park" into a guilty theatrical pleasure, sort of like a bag of White Castle hamburgers.

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