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The Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company presents The Great American Trailer Park Musical

 

The Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company will present The Great American Trailer Park Musical (music and lyrics by David Nehls; book by Betsy Kelso) as its spring 2022 production. The musical tells the story of what happens when an agoraphobe, a highway toll collector, and an exotic dancer on the run end up in a love triangle. With a variety of characters to help guide the narrative, the result is an informal sense of community that provides opportunities for broad comedy and confrontation where the audience learns about everyone’s dirty laundry.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (Mar. 31, Apr. 1, and Apr. 2) and at 2 p.m. (Apr. 3) in Pitt-Greensburg’s Ferguson Theater (Smith Hall). Tickets, available only at the door, are $10 (regular) and $5 (students/seniors).

While the show may not be a familiar name to most people, the original Great American Trailer Park Musical opened off-Broadway in 2005 and played to sell-out crowds. More than a decade later, the production continues to draw sell-out crowds in nearly every state in the Union and internationally where it has been performed in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

“We’re excited to be performing live theatre—not remote, not online-- in front of an audience,” said Stephen A. Schrum, PhD, director of theatre and associate professor of theatre arts, who is collaborating with Chris Bartley, Pitt-Greensburg’s director of music, to produce the show.

Schrum explained that while superficially, the musical is a satire of the dwellers of trailer parks, it also depicts some very familiar human behaviors. “For instance, what happens to a married couple who falls on difficult times and can’t re-spark their relationship?” he noted. “What happens to a man tempted, as the ‘Squeeze song’ says, by the fruit of another? How does a young woman forced to survive on her own cope with life, even though the work she has chosen may stigmatize her in the views of others?”

The spring production is bittersweet for Schrum, because he will retire at the end of the academic year. “The song, ‘One Step Closer’ from this musical has a slightly different resonance for me than intended by the authors—because of my pending retirement,” explained Schrum. For 17 years, he has shared his love of theatre and the creative process with students through his classes and as the director of the campus theatre company. He has directed a total of 88 plays during his career, in addition to multiple one-acts and overseeing a couple of staged readings.

More importantly, he has mentored an even wider variety of students. “I’m still in contact with many of the students,” said Schrum. “Hearing of their success remains the greatest source of my job satisfaction. As I’ve always said, I could never have done what I do without them.”

On the academic side, Schrum designed Pitt-Greensburg’s Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate Program to help visual and performing arts majors understand the business side of arts as well as prepare them to market themselves. He also created a course called Theatre Technology that incorporated digital audio, digital video, and virtual worlds. When he arrived on campus in 2005, he joined the Interdisciplinary Arts faculty. Later the group would change the name of the program to the Visual and Performing Arts to better reflect its focus.

A nine-member cast will perform The Great American Trailer Park Musical on the Ferguson Theater stage:

Clayton E. Gregg V (Duke), is a second-year visual and performing arts major (theatre concentration) from Connellsville, PA. Past roles include Grimsby in The Little Mermaid, Joly in Les Miserables, and Ensemble in Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King Jr., and Hairspray Jr. Gregg previously appeared in Pitt-Greensburg’s virtual productions as Peter Stockmann in An Enemy of the People and Laertes in the Zoom performance of Dark Hamlet. Gregg also performed as Clive in the fall semester’s live production of See How They Run. He is a member of Delta Psi Omega (DPO), the national theatre honors society, and the president of the Performing Arts Society (PAS).

Amanda Henry (Jeannie Garstecki) is a first-year visual and performing arts major (theatre concentration) from Murrysville, PA. Her past roles include Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Fiona in Shrek, Jr., and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice. A graduate of Franklin Regional Senior High School and the Pittsburgh CLO’s Professional Development Program, Amanda is making her Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut with this production.

Cletus McConville II ’16 (Norbert Garstecki) returns to the Pitt-Greensburg stage as an alumnus, after appearing in seven Pitt-Greensburg shows as a visual and performing arts major (theatre concentration). Audiences may remember him as Mr. Witherspoon in Arsenic and Old Lace, Ensemble in Eleanor: An American Love Story, The Devil in Birth of Merlin, Professor Quirrel in A Very Potter Musical, Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde in Chemical Imbalance, John Dodge in Middletown, and Cervantes/Don Quixote/Alonso Quijana in Man of La Mancha. He also appeared as Polonius in Pitt-Greensburg’s Zoom performance of Dark Hamlet last year. McConville served as president of DPO, vice president of the Performing Arts Society, and as a Green Scholar for Dr. Stephen Schrum, acting as editor for a documentary film. McConville is from Ligonier, PA.

‘Max’ Moskowicz (Donna/”Pickles”), from Warrendale, PA, is a first-year nursing major who is making their Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut with this show. Moskowicz says that their past credits include “lots of musical theater from elementary school up until my sophomore year of high school” so Pitt-Greensburg is pleased to have Moskowicz back on the stage.

Olivia Policicchio (Betty), a junior political science major from Waynesboro PA, was about to make her Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut with The Government Inspector before COVID-19 put a stop to that. Previously, Policicchio performed in the Waynesboro Children's Theater Troop for four years (fall of 2015-2019) and in the Waynesboro Area Senior High School All School Production for two years (2018-2019).

Reilly Reis (Linoleum/Lin) is a third-year political science major from Woodland Hills, PA. She was to make her Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut with Government Inspector as Chernyaevev--then COVID happened. She then returned as Morgen Kiil for An Enemy of the People in fall 2020 and See How They Run in fall of 2022. Reis’ previous theatrical experience includes the roles of Juror #9 in The Twelve Angry Jurors, Ms. Greta Bell in Fame Jr., and Ensemble in Mamma Mia, The Drowsy Chaperone, Spamalot, and Peter Pan. She also logged six years and two leadership positions in marching band, three years as an alto in chamber choir, and the position of secretary of chamber choir.

Loryn Roadman (Trailer Park Angel/Ensemble) is a junior psychology major from Connellsville, PA. Her previous stage experience includes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Ensemble), Beauty and the Beast (Milkmaid/Ensemble), and Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserable (French Horn in the Orchestra). Roadman also was drum major of her high school marching band during her junior and senior years. She made her Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut as the Sergeant in its production of See How They Run last semester.

Kelci Sopko (Trailer Park Angel/Ensemble) is a junior anthropology major with minors in biology and music. Her previous roles include Princess Puffer in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and a Lady in Waiting in Once Upon a Mattress. From Lower Burrell, PA, Sopko is a community assistant in Robertshaw residence hall, president of the Pitt-Greensburg Chorale and Chamber Singers, and a member of the Outdoor Adventure and Community Service (OACS) club, Residence Hall Association (RHA), and Phi Eta Sigma, the national honor society for freshmen students. Sopko is making her Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut with this production.

Madison Vogel (Pippi), from Penn Hills, PA, is majoring in psychology with a minor in theater arts. Some of her previous theatrical experiences include the Singing Telegram Girl in Clue and Pamela Stewart and a jingle singer in a radio talk show play, Featured Dancer in Big Fish, Alice B. in The Addams Family, and Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. She earned a Gene Kelly nomination for Best Actress in Mary Poppins. Vogel’s Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company debut was last semester as Penelope Toop in the campus production of See How They Run.

Also participating as members of the production staff:

Stephen A. Schrum (Director), associate professor of theatre arts at Pitt-Greensburg, will retire after this current semester. Having celebrated 44 years of doing theatre in December 2021 (with 17 at Pitt-Greensburg), he is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the professional union, and was profiled in the Summer 2018 issue in the “Pre-Show/Post-Show” section of the SDC Journal. With a PhD in dramatic art from the University of California, Berkeley, Stephen is interested in digital filmmaking, virtual performance, and playwrighting. As for playwrighting, along with having two monologues from original plays published in anthologies, he performed his full-length monologue, Immaculate Misconceptions, a few years back, and directed the world premiere of his musical Dog Assassin. Schrum also created the Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate program at Pitt-Greensburg. He is currently recording the third season of his podcast, Audio Chimera, which is available on the usual podcast players. His short film, Wash Hands, Save Lives? (available on YouTube) has won a variety of film festival awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. See his website MUSOFYR—pronounced “muse of fire”—at musofyr.com for more info, and check out some of his written work (plays, poetry, memoirs—including the novel Watchers of the Dawn and graphic novel  HellWish) at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/musofyr.

Christopher Bartley (Music Director) is music director and instructor of music at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, where he conducts the Pitt-Greensburg Chorale and Chamber Singers. He also serves as music director for university musical productions, including Young Frankenstein, Man of La Mancha, Eleanor, and Urinetown. Since 2020, he has conducted as artistic director of the Blair Concert Chorale of Altoona. He was recently appointed vice president of the Westmoreland Symphony board of directors, where he presides over its Friday Evening Music Club program. He teaches both Western classical and contemporary popular music, and has developed cross-disciplinary curricula for the University, including Music and Film, Music and Society, and Music, Culture, and Technology. He sings as a baritone/bass with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and has sung professionally with the Tucson Chamber Artists (now True Concord), the Westmoreland Symphony Chorus, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He received his master's of music from the University of Arizona, and also holds sociology degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wesleyan University. He is very glad to work with Stephen Schrum for this last show together, trying once more to “Reach the Unreachable Star,” find out “How the Other Half Lives,” and discover that it is indeed a “Privilege to Pee.” 

Chloe Mager (Stage Manager), a senior anthropology major and theatre minor from Camp Hill, PA, has served in various positions for the Pitt-Greensburg Theatre Company: as stage crew for Dracula, Young Frankenstein, and Chekhov in Yalta, as assistant stage manager for Enemy of the People and Dark Hamlet, and as stage manager for See How They Run. Mager also is a member of Delta Psi Omega and co-president of Nerdfighters.

Olivia Richard (Props Master) is a first-year early childhood education major. From McDonald, PA, Richard has been doing musicals since sixth grade. She has also performed in the Washington Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concert, and with the county chorus and band. She also served as props master for the Pitt-Greensburg production of See How They Run.

Shianne Steck (Assistant Stage Manager) also served in this role for See How They Run. A first-year double major in political science and creative and professional writing, Steck participated in six high school productions, stage managing two shows, including Almost, Maine and Little Women. Steck also served as assistant stage manager for 9 to 5. She was the president of her thespian troupe for two years. She is from Pittsburgh, PA.

Elaine Fisher (Costume Designer/Photographer) is a 2009 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg with a BA in interdisciplinary arts with a focus on theatre. As a student, she was the founder of the campus’ chapter of Delta Psi Omega, arranged the first Pitt-Greensburg dinner theatre, and stage-managed productions like Noises Off, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and House of Blue Leaves. Since graduating, she has established Elaine Fisher Photography and remained a part of Pitt-Greensburg’s theatre in the role of archival and promotional photographer. Most recently, Fisher was involved with costuming the casts of Dracula, Chekhov in Yalta, See How They Run, and the too-soon-ended Government Inspector. She also assisted with Dark Hamlet on Zoom. 

Jess Fitzpatrick (Scenic Designer) is a Pittsburgh-based scenic designer and artist. A recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, they are currently working as a scenic artist at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. Fitzpatrick’s scenic design credits at the University of Pittsburgh include Miss You Like Hell, She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, Head Over Heels, Flyin' West, On Trial and, at Pitt-Greensburg, See How They Run. In addition to design, they completed research on tactile teaching methods for scenic art and attended the summer scenic painting program at Cobalt Scenic Studios.

Charles Lockridge (Technical Director), originally, from Atlanta, GA, has a degree in technical theatre from Greensboro College in North Carolina. He has served as master carpenter for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and as technical director for Theatre West Virginia. Lockridge teaches basic stagecraft at Pitt-Greensburg and is excited to be part of the campus for his fourth year, having worked on Shakespeare in Hollywood, Harvey, The Tempest, Dracula, Young Frankenstein, and Chekhov in Yalta, See How They Run, and The Government Inspector (until COVID-19 stopped production).

 

 

 

 

 

Publication Date

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 14:15