Lust 'n Rust: A Duet Between Romance and Corporate Greed
Frank Haney, Carol Kimball, and Dave Stratton
What It’s All About
On the surface, it’s a love triangle between a small-town waitress (Connie), her soon-to-be ex-husband (Duane), and a guy who’s moved in from the city to run the town’s largest employer (Steve). But there’s a bigger story going on. The real antagonist isn’t either of the two guys competing for Connie’s affection; it’s the corporate executives who are about to destroy the town’s way of life. It’s a show about real people with real problems that the audience will care about. There’s never been a better time for Lust ‘n Rust.
Why You Should Do This Play
In the wake of the election of Donald Trump, there has been a lot of talk about the support he received from small-town Midwesterners who felt their economic plight was going unnoticed. But the authors of Lust ‘n Rust did notice. Nearly 18 years ago when Frank Haney, Carol Kimball, and Dave Stratton got together to write a country-western musical set in a trailer park, they knew that the loss of jobs due to corporate outsourcing had to be central to the story.
“All three of us are from small towns in Indiana and Ohio, so we’ve seen first-hand what happens to communities when a manufacturer shuts down and moves their operation out of the country for cheaper labor in order to boost the profits for shareholders,” explained Haney. “So we wanted to tell that story, because it was something millions of people are experiencing all across the country.”
“We’ve always thought of this show as having socioeconomic implications,” said Kimball. “We’ve been committed from the start to bringing attention to the corporate greed that always puts quarterly returns for their investors above the well-being of American workers.” When researching the background for the story, she consulted a company that hosts auctions for businesses that are shutting down for just this reason. The owner lamented that often companies were closing up to move out of the country in order to squeeze out a mere 1% – 2% increase in profits. He asked if the people making these decisions realize that if Americans don’t have jobs, they can’t afford to buy the very products that they’re planning to make more cheaply.
“In writing a musical set in a small-town trailer park, it would have been easy to make those characters the butt of our jokes,” added Stratton. “That’s the last thing we wanted to do. Even though they are quirky and funny, we wanted to show them as real people with real problems that the audience will care about.”
The authors also didn’t want to get “preachy” about it. They never lost sight of the need for this musical to be great entertainment and to show the audience a good time. And based on audience response, they’ve succeeded. Audiences love the songs (even people who don’t necessarily like country and western music), the characters, the story, and particularly the ending. Additionally, every theater company that has done Lust ‘n Rust has told them how much the director, cast, and crew enjoyed producing the show. Nearly every production of Lust ‘n Rust has seen sold out or nearly sold out houses, and the authors are frequently asked when the sequel will be written.
Haney, Kimball and Stratton want people to walk out of Lust 'n Rust with smiles on their faces, humming these great tunes, but with a little more awareness of what’s happening in so many towns and a little more distrust and skepticism of the billionaires who control so many lives.
There is some adult content like sexual themes, mild language and alcohol use. You will need an ensemble cast of about 5 men and 4 women with stellar singing voices, with strong starring roles for a man and a woman in their early thirties.
Need to Know
Lust ‘n Rust was selected as a “Best Bet” by the Chicago Tribune in its premiere professional production. It is currently being developed into a feature film by director Penelope Spheeris ("Wayne's World," "The Decline of Western Civilization") and Tom Martin, former Senior VP of Marketing for Universal Pictures.