Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: St. Louis

Triassic Parq
Stray Dog Theatre

Review by Richard T. Green

Also see Richrd's review of Hand to God

Dawn Schmid, Michael Wells, Laurell Stevenson,
Tristan Davis, Bryce Miller, and Rachel Bailey

Photo by John Lamb
In less than two months' time, the next installment in the Jurassic Park film franchise comes to movie theaters across the country. Coincidentally, the very lightweight parody (with song and dance) Triassic Parq is just making its local premiere in St. Louis, at Stray Dog Theatre where it runs through April 30, 2022. The cast is highly accomplished, and the production values are admirable. But the material, by Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz, and Steve Wargo, is woefully weak.

The authors (Mr. Pailet wrote the music, and collaborated with Messrs. Norbitz and Wargo on the book and lyrics) did not anticipate the recent ferment over transgender rights in America, when their work premiered at the New York Fringe Festival in 2010. But if their aspirations had been any higher than lowly parody, they might have treated their characters with some particle of respect, or dimensionality, and inadvertently have created a fine modern musical that would speak to the matter through sheer decency and idealism.

Sadly, Triassic Parq relies on a series of half-hearted penis jokes, in a colony of female dinosaurs. (In the first Jurassic Park movie, chaos ensues when some of the lab-generated dinosaurs develop male characteristics and go on to reproduce without human control.) Triassic Parq should have landed on the ash-heap of history, but gets a lavish revival here, under the direction of Justin Been.

Indeed, if any dinosaur on stage here ever wonders if they might be a different gender, deep inside, than the one they were outwardly born to, that moment passes so fleetingly as to be inconsequential. Nor do any of them face any notable obstacle to changing sex. Nor do they bravely carry on with their heartfelt readjustments, demanding the world make room for them. In 2022, Triassic Parq already seems prehistoric at its core.

Still, the cast sings very well, and gives us the last full measure of what is, essentially, a 90-minute comedy sketch. Rachel Bailey and Dawn Schmid are innocent girlfriend/dinosaurs, though one of them will suddenly develop a large comical phallus. And Tristan Davis is ideal for the power ballad idiom as a young velociraptor who must track down his origins. Michael Wells is a real trooper as the religious leader of the dinosaur park, with Laurell Stevenson a delight in several roles, including that of an exiled dinosaur with a hidden truth. Bryce Miller rounds out the cast as a comical "mime-a-saurus," with nice physical comedy throughout.

Triassic Parq runs through April 30, 2022, at the Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue, St. Louis MO. For tickets and information visit

Cast (in order of appearance):
Morgan Freeman: Laurell Stevenson
Velociraptor of Faith: Michael Wells
T-Rex 1/Kaitlyn: Dawn Schmid
T-Rex 2: Rachel Bailey
Mime-A-Saurus: Bryce Miller
Velociraptor of Innocence: Tristan Davis
Velociraptor of Science: Laurell Stevenson

On-Stage Band:
Pianosaurus: Leah Schultz
Guitaratops: Adam Rugo
Drumadon: Joe Winters

Production Staff:
Director: Justin Been
Music Director: Leah Schultz
Choreography: Michael Hodges
Lighting Designer: Tyler Duenow
Costume Designer: Eileen Engel
Scenic Designer: Josh Smith