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Musical 'Grand Forks' guiltiest pleasure'

Apparently trailer park humor is big in Grand Forks -- at least big enough to get "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" labeled as the guiltiest pleasure in Grand Forks by its young director.

Apparently trailer park humor is big in Grand Forks -- at least big enough to get "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" labeled as the guiltiest pleasure in Grand Forks by its young director.

"We were kind of surprised how much Grand Forks liked the show," director Chris Berg said, "because there's some (adult) language and the characters are kind of crude."

That's why Berg, 22, a Red River High School grad and English and theater major at UND, has taken to calling it, in conversations and on the show's posters, "Grand Forks' guiltiest pleasure."

The show first played Fire Hall Theatre July 7-11. It was so popular, it's being brought back for 8 p.m. shows Tuesday through Aug. 1.

"Trailer Park Musical" is not a Crimson Creek Players production, but many of its cast members have acted in Crimson shows. The cast includes Debra Berger, Ashley Braxton, Daniel Dutot, Darin Kerr, Beth Laidlaw, Amanda Speare and Natasha Yearwood.

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The story goes ...

The show has been called the nutritional equivalent of a bag of Doritos, tasty and guiltily addictive. One reviewer described the musical's Armadillo Acres trailer park trio of Betty, Pickles and Lin (Berger, Speare and Laidlaw) as a "white trash Greek chorus." Betty is the landlady at Armadillo Acres, Lin's husband is on death row and Pickles suffers from hysterical pregnancies.

Also living at Armadillo Acres are Jeannie (Braxton), an agoraphobic housewife who hasn't left her mobile home since 1983, and her frustrated toll-booth collector husband Norbert (Kerr).

Things get stirred up when a stripper named Pippi (Yearwood) moves into the park and hooks up with Norbert. Pippi also is pursued by her Magic Marker-huffing boyfriend, Duke (Dutot).

It's OK to laugh

During its original run July 7-11, "Trailer Park" attracted big crowds to the Fire Hall and sold out its final two nights, Berg said. Audiences seemed to love its raucous humor.

"They think they probably shouldn't like it, but they do, like 'I probably shouldn't be laughing at this but I am,'" he said.

The show invites the audience to get into the spirit of things. If you dress like "trailer trash," you can get a discount on your ticket, from $15 or $12 to $10.

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"That went over really well," Berg said of the discount. "We were really surprised at how many people did it." And not just young people, Berg said. Some parents sported their best trailer park attire, too, he said.

For reservations, call (701) 746-0847.

Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to ptobin@gfherald.com .

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