BY Christian Colon
On Feb. 20, the Theatre and Performing Arts program opened “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” in the Little Theater.
“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is a comedy musical that takes place in “Armadillo Acres,” a North Florida trailer park. The musical is a story told by a trio of girls who reside in the trailer park.
Throughout the story, the agoraphobic wife Jeannie (played by senior Tori Vacca) and Norbert Garstecki (played by senior Justin Weigel) are faced with complications in their marriage when a stripper, Pippi (played by freshman Kimmy Johnson) has an affair with Norbert while on the run from her crazy ex-boyfriend Duke (played by senior Mike Villanueva).
“The show is best described as heartfelt and absurd,” said director/choreographer Jonathan Stahl.
“The Great American Trailer Park Musical” is different from other shows done at the university in terms of style, costumes, choreography and director.
“Well this is nothing like I have ever done before. I have been involved in many shows throughout my four years here and I have never done anything like this before,” said senior Justin Weigel.
This is Jonathan Stahl’s second time directing at Sacred Heart University since the performing arts production of the “The Fantasticks” in 2015. Stahl has worked as a director since 2009 and has worked alongside Sacred Heart’s musical director Leo Carusone in the past as well.
“I have worked with Leo before and I have much love for him, and the students at Sacred Heart are hardworking and willing to go the extra mile,” said Stahl.
“I wasn’t sure walking in because I have only worked with Leo Casurone and Gerald Goehring, but it is refreshing to work with someone new,” said senior Tori Vacca.
The production also had conflicts before opening night due to sickness. The production was originally planned to open on Feb. 13. It was then pushed back to Feb. 20 due to four cast and crew members coming down with the flu and other serious illnesses.
This affected ticket sales for the four shows that were cancelled and resulted in an additional matinee performance being added to the Sunday performance on Feb. 23. The effect of the cancellations gave more time to rehearse and prepare for the next weekend with five sold-out shows.
Every element that goes into the show is important. “For this one, the costumes make the show. The specific look helps to bring the show together,” said junior costume designer Emma Trimmings.
Lights are also a big part of the show and require a team of stage crew members working together to pull off various lighting effects. The head lighting designer, sophomore Kaylie Mallegol, said, “This is the 9th show I’ve worked on at Sacred Heart. This is the first time we’re doing a country show and lights help with the comedy. It’s a one act show so there aren’t as many lights like other shows that I’ve done.”
Despite the cancellations due to sickness, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” went on to perform for five nights and was well-received for its comedy, music and choreography.
“I like a lot of the shows here that I have seen but this is without a doubt one of the best and funniest yet,” said sophomore Florentia Petrides.