Musicals have taken place in all kinds of magical and far-flung locations and still managed to capture elemental human truths. But as “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” Miners Alley Playhouse’s latest production, hilariously demonstrates, you can access those same truths in places a little closer to home.
“What’s so special about the show is it gives such a great snapshot of humanity in all of its perfectly imperfect mess,” said Piper Arpan, the production’s director and choreographer. “The characters are very open and unapologetic about who they are and what they’ve experienced. This allows you to see the power of real, authentic human connection.”
“The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” featuring music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso, is playing at Miners Alley, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, from Friday, Jan. 27 through Sunday, March 5. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Nehls and Kelso began writing the show in 1997 and eventually premiered it off-Broadway in 2005. In the ensuing years productions have been done all over the country, but Nehls was still delighted when Len Matheo, Miners Alley’s artistic/executive director, pitched the idea of doing the show.
“I was the musical director here for ‘Once’ and ‘Hair,’ so I was thrilled,” Nehls, who is also providing musical direction for this production, said. “The show is a little wild because of its naughty nature, but is so much fun when done right.”
The story (which features some updates from its original form) is set in Armadillo Acres trailer park in Florida and focuses on Jeanie (Abby Apple Boes), an agoraphobic, reality television fan, her tollbooth collector husband Norbert (Rory Pierce) and Pippi (Norrell Moore), a stripper on the run. The collision of these three people makes for a stormy situation that is both laugh-out-loud funny and moving.
“We never want to seem like we’re making fun of people in trailer parks because we’re not,” Nehls said. “We’re shining a light on people who don’t get a lot of visibility in the theater, especially because the situations are universal.”
The production has taken over Miners Alley in the best way possible, with the trailer park ambience spilling over into the lobby and the musical aspect greeting audiences before they’ve even found their seats.
“The music is unbelievably good, especially with this cast,” Arpan said. “There’s so much candor, humor and heart in the music and the vocal prowess we have is unbelievable.”
We could all use a little escape and for a great time that takes you away from your troubles, you’d be hard pressed to find a better evening out.
“I hope audiences come away with a sense of joy,” Nehls said. “The show will let people forget what’s going on outside the door and let them just laugh and have an emotional experience.”
For information and tickets, visit https://minersalley.com/.
Celebrate jazz royalty with the CJRO
One of my favorite things about jazz music is the way musicians constantly find powerful and intriguing ways to pay homage to the music of the past. The Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra’s (CJRO) is doing just that with a pair of performances entitled From Counts to Dukes.
The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., and at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22 at the Lone Tree Arts Center, 10075 Commons St. Both performances will feature vocalist Marion Power and the full orchestra, all under the leadership of artistic director, Drew Zaremba.
To purchase tickets, go to https://www.coloradojazz.org/concerts.
The March family comes to Lakewood Cultural Center
The story Louisa May Alcott told in “Little Women” is one that never seems to age and now Performance Now Theatre Company is bringing the Broadway musical version of the March sisters to the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway.
Directed by Victoria Holloway, “Little Women” will run at the center through Sunday, Jan. 19. Get tickets at www.performancenow.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — YG at the Fillmore Auditorium
Compton’s YG just loves rapping. And who can blame him — if you were as good at it as he is, you’d love it, too. His 2014 debut studio album, “My Krazy Life,” is one of the best rap records of the 2010s and in the ensuing years he’s released a string of excellent albums and song-stealing guest verses.
YG is bringing his Red Cup Tour to Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20. The show should be a perfect repudiation to the dreary winter doldrums we find ourselves currently in, so get tickets at www.livenation.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.