'Park' looks to open in late summer

Producers Jean Doumanian and Jeffrey Richards will bring “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” to Off Broadway this summer.

New tuner by book writer Betsy Kelso and songwriter David Nehls was first presented last fall at the New York Musical Theater Festival, where it received upbeat reviews. The new tuner confab also featured “Altar Boyz,” which made the commercial transfer in February to Off Broadway’s Dodger Stages and continues there in an open-ended run.

Doumanian and Richards are in negotiations to book a 499-seat theater at the Dodgers multiplex and look to open “Trailer Park” there in late summer.

“It’s the biggest little musical,” Doumanian said. Actually, by current Off Broadway standards, there is nothing little about Kelso and Nehls’ show, which details the lives and loves of a trailer park community, Armadillo Arms. The producers look to cast with seven actors and five musicians and capitalize at about $1.5 million.

In the post-9/11 economy, most musicals have been too expensive to turn a profit Off Broadway. “Bat Boy,” “Tick, Tick … Boom” and “Reefer Madness,” among others, have failed to recoup. “Avenue Q,” with its cast of nine, had been expected to play Off Broadway, but its producer team instead took it to Broadway in a gamble that has paid off.

Doumanian said she believed Off Broadway was experiencing a “renaissance” and pointed to such current product as “Modern Orthodox” and “Altar Boyz,” which performs with a slightly smaller cast and band than “Trailer Park” will.

On Broadway, Doumanian is a producer on this season’s “Democracy.” Richards is readying a revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” set to open May 1. They previously collaborated on the Off Broadway musical “Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight” in 1999.

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