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Center Stage: ‘Trailer Park Christmas’ is a gut-busting holiday musical

By MARSHA WAGNER - | Dec 15, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Marsha Wagner

Ya’ll better git on down to the Off Broadway Palm and see “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical,” written by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso, cause it’s a gut buster.

This jingle-all-the-way, holiday goofball musical is a country-fried, good time-take on Christmas, decked out in tinsel and “keg nog.” The story is written “down home-style” cause it’s holiday time in Armadillo Acres, in “somewhere north Florida,” which is a top-of-the-line mobile home-living community; a place where everybody is filled with holiday warmth and cold beer, ‘cept for one of the park’s gals — a female Scrooge named Darlene Steward, played without a glitch by Erica Sample.

Know now that the word “redneck” is used a lot, so if ya’ll are uptight about being “politically correct” then “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” ain’t your thing. But then on the other hand, this here production don’t take itself seriously, so you can let yourself go and enjoy the “down home humor” of this here show.

I think owner and producer Will Prather said it best: “‘Trailer Park Christmas’ is a show that can best be described as those characters we often see while in Walmart or the 99 cents store. Take the best of these zany, loveable people and throw them on a stage with great guidance and talent and you have a recipe for hilarity. The residents are bound and determined to win the best holiday decorated trailer park, using their home decorated, redneck decorations and thrift store findings, as they overcome all of the crazy obstacles that get in their way.”

To which I can only add thanks to a super talented cast: Dianne Stone Fussaro as Betty, Rachael Endrizzi as Linoleum, Rachael Lord as Pickles, Ken Quiricone as Rufus Jeter, Sample as Darlene Seward, and Rob Summers as Jackie Boudreaux. Let’s not leave out the skilled spot on direction by Paul Bernier and the super duper choreography and staging by Amy Marie McCleary.

Prather has gone all out to keep his audiences safe during this pandemic. He’s had all the theater seating removed and replaced with comfortable chairs that are socially distanced to accommodate one-half of the usual audience. Because of fewer audience members, there are also fewer people in the dining room. The serving staff are wearing masks, including those at the steam tables. Everyone’s temperature is taken before entering the main lobby, regardless of which theater. All the performers wear masks, but each one of them has managed to create a character with their particular mask.

I whole heartedly agree with Prather as he so aptly put it: “Do yourself a favor and create a Christmas memory. Remember that year we all donned masks and watched actors overcome them and shine, with a radiance during a dark time in our nation’s history. The show is a perfect pick me up just in time for the holidays.” To which I can only add, “Right on, Will!” — you can betcha bottom it’s one hell of a redneck Christmas romp!

OK, now git on down, pick up the phone and dial the box office at 239-278-4422 for a rousin’ good time celebratin’ Christmas until Dec. 26, when “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” goes bye bye. Just remember when ya’ll call to remind ’em Marsha sent ya’ll!