Monday, May 21, 2018
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Owens students bring dry wit to musical


Cast members, from left, Christopher Smith, Amber Breault-Albain, and Jeremy Wilkes rehearse a scene from ‘Great American Trailer Park Musical.’ The cast will perform Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


Actor Amber Breault-Albain and the rest of her cast have worked since January with a vocalist, choreographer, and director to put together Owens Community College’s spring musical, the Great American Trailer Park Musical.

It features 14 songs, “vibrant” characters, and dancing, along with a deeper story line.

“Everyone is really talented, I think it is really funny,” Toledoan Ms. Breault-Albain said. “The jokes are so dry and sarcastic. I’ve been hearing it for two months but I’m cracking up behind stage — a lot of quick wit.”

The musical opened over the weekend with three shows, but has three more performances to come: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Director Jeremy Meier is encouraging audiences to arrive at least 15 minutes early for preshow entertainment. A cast of five will help the audience get a feel for the setting of real-life Starke, Fla., home to a state prison that houses the last operating electric chair — which saw serial killer Ted Bundy — and Armadillo Acres Trailer Park, where the fictional story takes place.

The preshow cast will interact with the audience and have some jokes about the town.

The musical is mostly about Ms. Breault-Albain’s character, Jeannie Garstecki, who doesn’t leave her trailer. That causes friction with her husband, who eventually cheats on her with a stripper on the run. The actor playing the fictional husband is actually Ms. Breault-Albain’s boyfriend, Jeremy Wilkes of Oregon.

She said working with her boyfriend and having a fictional dysfunctional marriage isn’t awkward, because they are professional about it. But it is “really cool” having him there because it comforts her on stage.

“Our favorite scene is actually one were we are shouting at each other, because we don’t fight in real life,” she said.

The musical’s seven-person cast has been rehearsing since January. Mr. Meier said the winter made it difficult as storms forced the cancellation of four or five days of practice, but the show must go on.

The show runs 90 minutes in length with no intermission, which can cause havoc and scrambling for wigs and other props behind stage.

“Outrageous is a good word for the humor we have,” Mr. Meier said. “It is for mature audiences with adult content. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG-13.”

Tickets to Great American Trailer Park Musical are $12 for general public and $8 for Owens faculty, staff, students, and alumni for the show in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre off Oregon Road.

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