Redneck twist on Christmas classic

Actors Misti Koop (left) and CJ Leigh (right) perform in “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” on Friday night at the Empire Arts Center. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

I should probably begin this article by admitting I’m not a connoisseur of the fine arts. Nor do I believe they particularly add to society in any way.

Now that all of that is on the table, I can begin to explain my experience with “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” that was Friday night at the Empire Arts Center.

Upon arriving at the theater and seeing several golden lion statues scattered around the place, I came to the realization I was comfortably underdressed in my Adidas sweatshirt.

Or maybe everyone else there was just overdressed for a musical that had the phrase “trailer park” in its name. We may never know.

Because I went to this musical while under the age of 21 and single, I feel like I missed out on the two main reasons that men go to musicals. Many of the guys I saw in the theater had a beer in one hand and their girlfriends in the other, so, realistically, these men were already having twice as much fun as I was before the show had even started. But even with this preordained handicap, I still managed to have a great time.

The musical itself was loosely based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” in the same way that Toronto’s previous mayor Rob Ford’s career was based on sound political values.

It was essentially a redneck version of the classic Christmas tale, complete with plastic flamingos and fart jokes.

The entire musical was so abundant with hillbilly stereotypes that I feel its creator only got their source material from the TV show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

To be honest, I was surprised that a dignified theater such as the Empire Arts Center would even put on a show that was so unashamedly redneck. Then again the venue is located in North Dakota, so at least they knew their target audience.

I have only seen one other musical, “The Sound of Music,” and needless to say that is on the opposite end of the sophistication spectrum as “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical.” That being said, I found the latter far more entertaining.

Its online description included the enticing phrase “mature content,” and it did not fail to deliver. To my delight, curse words ran rampant throughout the musical’s two hour runtime. It’s worth noting that one of the most memorable songs of the night had a chorus of, “F*** It, It’s Christmas.” Slightly crass, but it certainly got its message across.

All six of the actors gave excellent performances, and every line was delivered flawlessly.

After the first 30 seconds I assumed the characters’ southern drawls would get on my nerves, but as time went on I found myself enjoying their twangy inflections.

Along with the talented live band, the overall experience was much more entertaining than I thought it would be.

I would give this musical a 4 out of 5 stars because it is a far cry from the norm, and never ceases to keep the audience entertained.

If you are the type of person that likes the idea of musicals but hates everything about musicals, “The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” is definitely a performance worth seeing.

Brendan McCabe is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].