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A Year in Chuckles: PSL will debut ‘The Big Book of Wilmington’ this Wednesday

The chuckles never stop with local sketch comedy troupe Pineapple-Shaped Lamps (PSL). The troupe formed in January 2010 as a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” shadow cast and had their first sketch-comedy show in September of that year. Ever since they’ve been establishing a pretty big reputation in Wilmington: They hosted the 2014 encore Best Of awards party, and they’ve produced a host of full-length shows—”Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog,” Cannibal,” and “Sex: a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs”—all across town. Their TV show “Sketch-22” was even picked up for a late-night run on CW last January.


While it may seem like it’s all laughs for PSL, hard work and deep-running dedication has solidified their roots in Wilmington. This Wednesday they will showcase their prowess for celebrating local flavor with this year’s finale show, “The Big Book of Wilmington.” Premiering at TheatreNOW, the show will compress and lampoon a year’s worth of ILM life into series of sketches.

PSL conceptualized the idea after they performed a parody of the Best Play nominations at the Wilmington Theater Awards last year. “We had so much fun that we thought about doing an entire show about that,” Holly Cole, executive director of PSL tells. “We had planned to basically write parodies of the plays and musicals that ran around town in 2014”

“But then we realized: maybe that’s way too specific of a crowd,” Ryan Trimble, co-head writer for PSL, adds. “So, to broaden the appeal of the show, we worked out from there to a show about entertainment in Wilmington (too specific still), and finally [we] arrived on the year in review concept.”

Local theatre guru Ed Wagenseller, who hosted PSL’s big Christmas show last year, will open the production. “He’s pretty amazing, and we decided that we wanted to make it a tradition that he would host all of our December shows,” Cole states.

The show will begin with Wagenseller realizing that the folks behind PSL aren’t very well versed with local happenings. “Ed gathers them around to tell them about the wonderful things this town can offer by reading from ‘The Big Book of Wilmington,’ a book he made himself (possibly while drinking, like, a lot) to help people get familiar with the town,” Trimble describes.

As Wagenseller, who also will take on multiple roles throughout the night when he’s not playing himself,  reads from the book, the 16 PSL performers (including longstanding cast members Wesley Brown, Trimble, Cole, Jordan Mullaney, and Brett J. Young, alongside newcomers Ashley Burton, Blake Howard and Josh Browner)  will bring 2014 to life onstage with musical numbers and gut-busting sketches.

The troupe decided to focus on cultural touchstones rather than specific instances. Given the ongoing rise in crime that’s been reported in Wilmington over the past year, Young developed a sketch called “Gang Violence: The Musical.” Riffing on the shake-ups at UNCW (like the briefly stolen mascot), Zach Pappas wrote a send up called “Hawk It Out,” about the search for a replacement for the iconic Sammy the Seahawk. Film incentives, snowmageddon and school robberies also will top the list of topics covered throughout the show. Though chuckles will be had at Wilmington’s expense, the ultimate goal of the show is to celebrate the Port City and almost serve as a love letter.

“We have a grand finale planned that will hopefully convince/remind everyone in the audience about how great ILM is,” Trimble declares. “Laughter unites people more than anything else. Nine times out of 10, when you’re thinking of a story, you think of, ‘remember that time…’ And it’s hilarious to you and your friends. And we try to create those remember-that-time moments during this show, because we have the benefit of all knowing these events and locations. Everyone can relate! It’s an event; a whole night out. And laughing is a huge component of any night out!”


The Big Book of Wilmington

Wednesday, December 10, 8 p.m.

TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th Street

Tickets: $5

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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