TRASH: “The Glass Menagerie” meets “The Anna Nicole Show” in an episode of “Hoarders”

TRASH: “The Glass Menagerie” meets “The Anna Nicole Show” in an episode of “Hoarders”

New American Folk Theatre cast in "Trash" by Johnny Drago

New American Folk Theatre begins its 2016 season with the Midwest premiere of “Trash,” opening April 11th at The Den Theatre. Written by Johnny Drago and directed by Derek Van Barham, “Trash” centers on the character of Jinx Malibu: faded D-list movie star, Appalachian, infomercial queen, “diet”-pill popper, and buxom beauty. The action takes place in her mother’s trash-filled trailer. The play premiered in September 2013 at Atlanta’s Process Theater. Andrew Alexander’s review for ArtsAtlanta described the original production of this play as a comedy that provides its leading lady with “plenty of diva entrances, over-the-top monologues and one-liners.” He adds though that this play “makes a sharp turn away from camp comedy toward its darker Southern Gothic elements at the end of the second act.” The character of Jinx Malibu will be played by Anthony Whitaker, Co-Artistic Director & Co-Founder of New American Folk Theatre.  He says that the play is “the perfect depiction of the pain brought on by finding fame, and then trying to hold on to it.”  Whitaker explains that he developed a friendship with “Trash” playwright Johnny Drago when they met through a mutual friend and adds that they shared a love (and guilt over) watching reality television shows such as “Hoarders” and “The Anna Nicole Show,” which were the inspiration for the play.  For that reason, Whitaker says that “Trash” . . . “was the perfect fit for our company.” Appropriately, this play has been described as “The Glass Menagerie” meets Anna Nicole in an episode of “Hoarders.”

“Trash” will feature New American Folk Theatre company members Jamal Howard (Co-Artistic Director/Marketing, Co-Founder), Carrie Campana, Caitlin Tauer Jackson, Kirk Jackson and Anthony Whitaker (Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder).

Johnny Drago is an Atlanta playwright who was named one of three “Leap Year” artists and was a recipient of the Emerging Artist Award for the Literary Arts in 2012. His play Kiss of the Vampire was named “Best Original Work” by the Metropolitan Atlanta Theater. He has written twelve plays. In addition to writing, this prolific artist has directed, produced and performed in numerous productions. Upcoming projects include I Love My Brother, in development for Threshold at Actor’s Express and a newly commissioned adaptation of The Duchess of Malfi for Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Derek Van Barham (Director) is the Artistic Director of “The Ruckus” and an Artistic Associate with Pride Films & Plays. His past directing credits include “These Fatal Loins” (The Ruckus), “Miracle!” (Hell in a Handbag), “Angry Fags” (PFP/Steppenwolf Garage), “Some Men” (with David Zak), “Kill Your Boyfriends” (an original piece), and “Songs from an Unmade Bed” (a Jeff nominee).  Derek was named a “Windy City Times” “30 Under 30,” honoring individuals from Chicago’s LGBTQIA communities. MFA: CCPA/Roosevelt University.

Anthony Whitaker (Lead Actor), grew up in Greenville, SC, where he began performing at age 10. Whitaker performed with the Greenville Little Theatre, The Warehouse Theatre, The Greenville Fine Arts Center, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Singing Christmas Tree. Since leaving South Carolina, he has performed in Atlanta (Center Stage Atlanta and Georgia State University), The Lost Colony in Manteo, NC, The Golden Apple Dinner Theatres in Sarasota and Venice, Florida and many venues in Chicago (The Royal George, Emerald City, Beverly Arts Center, Theatre on the Lake). In addition to performing, Anthony teaches elementary and junior high music in the public and Catholic School systems, and directs productions for various south side schools and the Beverly Arts Center.

New American Folk Theatre is dedicated to folk theatre, music, education, and stories that shine new light on the American tale. We strive to educate the public on works worthy of inclusion to the American theatrical canon. Through utilitarian efforts of using the resources around us, we will produce impactful theatre and other artistic projects that help us learn and grow as a society.

“Trash” will play at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago.  Free previews will run on Sat., April 9th at 7:30 p.m., Sun., April 10th at 6:00 p.m. and Mon., April 11th at 7:30 p.m.

The play officially opens April 15th and will run through May 15th.  Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:00 p.m.  Tickets are $20 ($15 students/seniors):

–Molly Jones, Theater Liaison, Northwest Arts Connection

Photo by Paul Clark

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