Dearborn actor Michael Suchyta, who first played Duke in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” at Biddle Hall in Wyandotte with the Downriver Actors Guild, will reprise the role for the Dio Theatre in Pinckney.
The Dio Dining and Entertainment, 177 E. Main St., Pinckney, presents the musical comedy weekends Aug. 25 to Oct. 8 at the professional, award-winning theatre.
When Pippi, a stripper on the run from her marker-sniffing ex-boyfriend Duke, lands in Armadillo Acres, a Florida manufactured home community, she enters a dysfunctional group where everyone has their own problems, from Norbert, a bored, middle-aged toll collector with whom she initiates an affair, to Jeannie, his agoraphobic wife who hasn’t left their trailer in 20 years.
Their colorful neighbors include Pickles, a young woman with a long-term hysterical pregnancy; Linoleum, whose husband is on death row; and Betty, the manager, who husband might be buried on the grounds.
Suchyta plays Duke, the possessive, obsessive ex-boyfriend of Pippi, and a marker-sniffer with a fixation for roadkill.
He said “Trailer Park” is raunchy, irreverent and hilarious.
“The humor reflects the trailer park community and their candid approach to life,” he said. “There’s no beating around the bush here. The characters tell you how they feel in the bluntest ways – even through song and dance at times.”
He said the show, with music and lyrics by David Nehls and book by Betsy Kelso, is incredibly inventive.
“The writers set no hard and fast rules about what was off-limits or went too far,” he said. “Without giving anything away, the show has things everybody can relate to, whether they were raised in a suburb, city or actual trailer park.”
Others in the cast include Andrew Gorney as Norbert, Alaina Kerr as Pippi, Sonja Marquis as Betty, Tori Rogers as Pickles, Carrie Sayer as Jeannie and Natalie Sevick as Linoleum.
Director Steve DeBruyne said he tells people the show is a cross between “Oklahoma!” and “The Jerry Springer Show.”
“That tends to get them interested and laughing,” he said. “You can’t go wrong with a show that includes strippers, crazy ex-boyfriends, agoraphobic housewives, Costco and the Ice Capades.”
DeBruyne said while the humor is irreverent and in-your-face, it also has some tender moments.
“Many of the characters are larger than life, but what really makes the show special is a few touching moments that will catch the audience by surprise,” he said. “It’s got a lot of laughs, and it’s got heart. It’s a good combo.”
DeBruyne said the cast has been making him laugh at rehearsals as they hone their characters.
“Each time they run a scene, they bring something new to the table,” he said. “We keep what works, and scrap what we don’t need. The result is a true group effort that brings a lot of hilarity to the stage.”
DeBruyne said the challenging part of the rehearsal process has been discovering the motivations and psyche of each character.
“It would be easy for everyone to treat the show like it is a two-dimensional cartoon, but I find that theater is much more effective if you find the truth in the situations,” he said. “If the actors play their characters from a place of honesty, and really think about what makes them tick, the audience will get way more from the performance. If we nail it, the audience will laugh at the absurdity.”
Rogers said the show does provide humor for a great night out.
“This show is very ‘out there,’ which is why it is so funny,” she said. “If you are looking for the perfect night out to laugh, enjoy great food, and let loose a little, this is the show for you.”
The menu includes Caesar salad, homemade breadsticks with melted butter and garlic, spring vegetables sauteed in Asian dressing, served with steamed rice, Idaho potatoes mashed with cream and herbs, traditional style meatloaf mixed with onions and vegetables, topped with mushroom gravy, and the Dio’s signature boneless fried chicken, hand-breaded and fried golden brown.
Dinner for the evening performances is served between 6:15 and 6:45 p.m., with matinee meals served between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. Seating is limited, and reservations are strongly advised.
DeBruyne said the show is intended for adult audiences, and contains strong language and sexual humor.
“Get a babysitter and enjoy a night out with your adult friends,” he said. “We won’t tell the kids.”
Tickets, which includes dinner and the show, are $42, with a $3 discount for students and seniors. To order, call 517-672-6009 or go to diotheatre.com.