A night of Yuletide tackiness and beer-fueled hootenanny awaits at “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” on stage at Trustus Theatre.
Everyone living in North Florida’s Armadillo Acres trailer park is feeling festive except Darlene, the park’s resident Scrooge. Darlene hates Christmas and refuses to let anyone decorate her trailer, until she gets shocked by some improperly wired lights and suffers from amnesia.
Gabby neighbors Betty, Lin and Pickles are determined to keep her home decorated in hopes of winning a contest for “Mobile Home & Garden” magazine. Throw in some ballads, a few cat-fights and plenty of keg nog (a potent mix of beer, eggs and cheap vodka), and you’ve got yourself a mobile masterpiece.
The musical, written by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso, is a holiday follow-up to the original “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” which came to Trustus in 2010 and 2011 to much success.
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The new production is directed by Larry Hembree and stars Trustus ensemble members Vicky Saye Henderson, Kevin Bush, Matthew DeGuire and guest actors Caroline Weidner, Abigail Smith Ludwig and Katie Leitner.
The play is for mature audiences only due to language and sexual references.
Having grown up in a trailer park himself, Hembree said his experiences help give the play authenticity. There’s even a picture of his old mobile home in the program.
“These are characters we all know,” he said. “You will know somebody like ’em.”
These are characters we all know. You will know somebody like ’em.
Larry Hembree on “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical”
Vicky Saye Henderson, who plays Betty, said, “These personalities are universal. There’s that comedy of recognition here that’s important.”
Saye Henderson is Trustus Theatre’s director of education and outreach. Betty, along with Lin and Pickles, serve as the play’s narrators and speak directly to the audience, breaking the fourth wall.
Betty is “a bit of a mother hen in that she needs to know everything about everyone in her mobile park,” Saye Henderson said. And with big hair, 4 1/2-inch platform shoes and ripped mini skirts, she’s “kind of a dolled-up badass.”
Fun and fracas aside, Hembree was careful to point out that the play is not meant to offend people who live in trailers. “It empowers people who grew up in trailers, like me,” he said, because the characters are underdogs whom the audience roots for. “It’s embracing a culture that we never get to see on stage.”
And with that mentality, keg nog stands for all! And to all a good night.
If you go
WHAT: “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical”
WHEN: Through Saturday, Dec. 19
WHERE: Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St.
COST: $35 regular admission, $33 senior and military, $25 students
The Trustus Theatre bar is in on the trailer park fun with a variety of drink specials during the show’s run.
A Single Wide Special will get you a tall boy PBR and a bag of Funyuns.
A Double Wide Special will get you two tall boy PBRs, two Moon Pies, two bags of Funyuns and two Slim Jims.
Or, if you feel like putting some class in your trash, the craft beer special is Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from DuClaw Brewing Company. (To go with the light-up baby Jesus on one of the character’s trailers, of course.)