The Great American Trailer Park Musical asks the question (courtesy of the peroxide-haired, pork-rind-fed trio of Betty, Linoleum and Pickles): “What happens if you take a wrong turn on your Florida vacation?” Well, you end up in the burg of Starke where the Litter Box Show Palace is the strip joint of choice and high-end living is at a trailer park called Armadillo Acres. It's the cartoon setting for the seven-year-old musical by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso now at San Diego Repertory Theatre, directed by the Rep's Sam Woodhouse.
The howling, self-conscious musical combines obvious parody of Red State trailer park “culture” and the eternal triangle story. Neither on its own could bear the heft of this show (it's a one-act affair, but really should be two), which features 12 songs and 10 times that many one-liners, spoken or sung. It's a heapin' helpin' of hick, sexual and scatological jokes, with sight gags confined to guns, cleavage and tacky clothing. (The real sight to see here is the set created by Ian Wallace—three vintage trailers, one with a purple commode out front, and all the fun-to-read road and business signs plastered behind them.)
Trapped in the show's love triangle are agoraphobic wife Jeannie (Courtney Corey), the strip-teasing other woman Pippi (Jill Van Velzer) and the local Leroy husband, Norbert (David Kirk Grant). The resolution of their romantic foibles is inevitable, though a gun-toting dude named Duke (David McBean, very funny) does supply a twist to the ending. In lieu of a subplot, there's continuous spoofing of trailer-park stereotypes (maybe they're not stereotypes) most of it provided by Betty (Melinda Gilb), Linoleum (Leigh Scarritt) and Pickles (Kailey O'Donnell) with all the subtlety of a hog calling.
A couple of musical numbers— the dream-sequence “The Great American TV Show” and the sequins and glitter (why?) “Storm's A-Brewin'”—seem contrived, but most songs keep in the spirit of the proceedings (brace yourself for “Road Kill”). The band, directed by Anthony Smith, is ace, but at least on opening night vocals were way too loud.
Or can something be way-too-anything in a show like this one?
The Great American Trailer Park Musical runs through Dec. 4 at the Lyceum Theatre, Downtown. $33- $57.
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Ion Theatre stages both parts (Millennium Approaches and Perestroika) of the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning work by Tony Kushner. Previews begin Nov. 17, opens Nov. 20 at the Lyceum Theatre, Downtown. $30- $50.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: An Old Globe Theatre holiday tradition returns, directed by James Vasquez. Previews begin Nov. 19, opens Nov. 25 at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. $24-$57.
Jesus Christ Superstar: The landmark rock opera written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, directed by Des McAnuff. Next stop after La Jolla: Broadway. Previews begin Nov. 18, opens Nov. 30 at La Jolla Playhouse. $58 and up.
Love Letters: North Coast Repertory Theatre celebrates its 30th anniversary with a performance of A.R. Gurney's popular work co-starring NCR artistic director David Ellenstein and his wife, Denise Young. Nov. 18 at North Coast Rep in Solana Beach. $150.
The Storm: The UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance presents a drama about a town in the throes of a storm by playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. Nov. 18 and 19 at the Sheila & Hughes Potiker Theatre. $10-$20. theatre.ucsd.edu
Heroes: Tom Stoppard's adaptation of French playwright Gerald Sibleyras' comedy about three World War I veterans reminiscing and reflecting on their lives. Through Nov. 20 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $32-$49. northcoastrep.org
Of Mice and Men: New Village Arts' adaptation of Steinbeck's novel flexes its dramatic muscle on the strength of solid turns by Justin Lang as George and Manny fernandes as a poignant Lennie, and in the process overcomes this staging's deliberate pacing. Through Nov. 20 at New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. $22-$38.
Oliver!: Youth Actors Theatre stages the popular musical based on Dickens' Oliver Twist. Through Nov. 20 at Encore Theatre in Spring Valley. $7-$15. yatsandiego.org
Prairie Lights: A Jewish brother and sister journey west on an orphan train in 1905 in this holiday musical. Through Nov. 20 at Patio Playhouse in Escondido. $7-$10. patioplayhouse.com
The Rainmaker: N. Richard Nash's comedy tells the story of a con man in a drought-plagued town. Through Nov. 20 at PowPAC Community Theatre in Poway. $16-$18. powpac.org
The Servant of Two Masters: Gags and one-liners come fast and furiously (too fast and too furiously, actually) in this Italian-flavored musical comedy that puts four pairs of costumed lovers through their crowd-pleasing paces. Through Nov. 20 at Lamb's Players Theatre in Coronado. $14-$60. lambsplayers.org
The Sound of Music: How do you solve a problem like Maria? Easy—in this beloved musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Through Nov. 20 at the Star Theatre in Oceanside. $7-$15. startheatre.biz
Gypsy: A Musical Fable: Credit ambitious Ion Theatre for pulling off a staging of the sprawling musical by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents in a black-box theater. Not everything comes up roses, but enough does. Through Nov. 27 at BLK BOX @ 6th & Penn in Hillcrest. $10-$34. iontheatre.com
The Diary of Anne Frank: Wendy Kesselman's adaptation of the story of a courageous girl in hiding during the horror of World War II. Through Dec. 4 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. $14-$16. onstageplayhouse.org
The Drowsy Chaperone: This show-within-a-show salute to the Jazz Age won the Tony for best musical in 2006. Through Dec. 4 at Coronado Playhouse. $20-$25. coronadoplayhouse.com
The Great American Trailer Park Musical: What do spray cheese, road kill, strippers and disco have in common? They're all part of this story of mobile-home denizens Norbert and Jeannie. Through Dec. 4 at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Downtown. $33-$57. sdrep.org
Leato be Latina: Isis Saratial Misdary directs a dance-happy romantic comedy by Enrique Urueta. Through Dec. 11 at Diversionary Theatre in University Heights. $20-$33. diversionary.org
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown: The “Peanuts” characters come alive in the Broadway revival version of a musical by Clark Gesner based on Charles Schulz's gang. Through Dec. 17 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. $10- $25. scrippsranchtheatre.org
Jingle Bell Rock: The Alley Cats usher in the holidays with a cappella classics and comedy. Through Dec. 31 at Welk Resorts Theatre in Escondido. $48-$73. welktheatersandiego.com
Shotgun Wedding Anniversary: How else can a miserable 25-year marriage end but in murder? Presented by Mystery Cafe, it's ongoing at Imperial House restaurant in Bankers Hill. $59.50, including dinner. mysterycafe.net