A love story that isn't spoiled by the trailer.
THEATER IN THE NOW: July 22, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review - A Country-Fried Smash
Everyone loves an underdog story. Rather a story about someone defying the odds. A story of hope. Though we may not see the success in the end, knowing that there will be a happy ending when the curtain falls is equally as satisfying. In what could easily be considered the underdog musical of the festival, Single Wide, with music and lyrics by Jordan Kamalu and book and additional lyrics by George D. Nelson, follows the denizens of a trailer park when a mysterious stranger finds his way into their community igniting a flurry of change.
THE EASY: July 23, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review - Single Wide Hits it Out of the Trailer Park
BOTTOM LINE: A charming new country musical with great lyrics, fun music, and strong, likeable characters.
When a new musical is set in a trailer park, I start to worry. Is the setting supposed to provide cheap humor at the expense of low-income, under-educated people? The creators of Single Wide, book by George D. Nelson, music and lyrics by Jordan Kamalu, have put my fears to rest. The appeal of this new musical is not derived at the expense of the characters, but in celebration of them. These are good people with big hearts who love each other an awful lot, and we can’t help but love them too. Even the ones who are up to no good.
TIMES SQUARE CHRONICLES: July 25, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review - Single Wide Gives Trailer Living Heart and a Great Score
Single Wide, the new musical at NYMF, does something that most of the musicals at NYMF have failed to do and that is make us know exactly who every character on that stage is and because of that we care. Like Hands on a Hard Body and The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Single Wide, is a musical with heart. With toe tapping music and lyrics by Jordan Kamalu and book and additional lyrics by George D. Nelson this is one well written musical. Mr. Kamalu’s score is contemporary country pop and I can easily see them becoming #1’s on the country radio hit parade. Mr. Kamalu has also managed to create an arc with the perfect blending of uptempo’s and ballads. “Microwave Life” is Katy’s moment of vulnerability.
TALKINBROADWAY.COM: July 24, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review - Powerful! Psychologically astute!
The very first installment of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, back in 2004, produced The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which also ended up being one of the Festival's first entries to make a go at a commercial Off-Broadway run. Junk-food enjoyable though that show might have been, however, it was plasticky and mocking in tone, as though it wanted you to know that it disapproved (or at least didn't approve) of its subjects. Single Wide, which George D. Nelson and Jordan Kamalu have contributed to this year's NYMF, takes a radically different approach: It treats trailer park residents as actual human beings. And wouldn't you know it, the result is as honest and touching as anything NYMF has seen this year (and for many in recent memory).
STAGEBUDDY.COM: July 25, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review
Every song in Single Wide sounds like it’s ready for a life beyond the stage, and that is certainly the highest compliment when discussing a musical that could have felt too niche. Set in a trailer park somewhere in the United States, the show centers on single mom Katy (the touching Emma Stratton), a car part saleswoman living with her son Sam (a wonderful Matt Miner), and her mother Amanda (a truly wonderful Stacia Fernandez) who works selling expensive pet accessories over the phone (“it’s absurd what I sell, but bills don’t pay themselves” she sings). As Katy tries to improve her life by attending online college, her mother and son dream to see her with a man who will treat her just right.
THEATER PIZZAZZ: August 1, 2015
SINGLE WIDE: Review - Colorful but not clichéd
Single Wide, one of the many offerings of the 2015 New York Musical Theatre Festival, is a genteel variation on the country-western/trailer-trash genre. Written by George D. Nelson (book and additional lyrics) and Jordan Kamalu (music and lyrics) takes the oddball, outspoken characters that usually live in such venues and portrays them with warmth and depth. Although one character does come perilously close to being actually trashy, she redeems herself admirably. The good guy gets the good woman and there’s light at the end of all their tunnels.
Recent examples of this genre, both fine in their own right, were the more complex Airline Highway and Hands on a Hard Body. Messrs Nelson & Kamalu decided to focus on just a few characters and reveal their inner hopes and dreams. Not an unheard-of idea, but this time handled with a light touch, their songs a mixture of country/western, pop ballads, rock and upbeat dance tunes, all choreographed with a natural feel by the director Jeff Whiting, who got colorful, but not clichéd performances from the cast.