‘Urinetown’ highlights the dangers of unchecked capitalism and climate change

Urinetown is filled with enchanting songs and odd choreography that capture the audience’s complete attention during the musical numbers. In addition to the captivating sequences, there are comical moments in between as well as a full-fledged revolution.

It follows a group of lowly street dwellers who must pay to use all bathroom facilities due to a water shortage. An evil capitalist man, Mr. Cladwell, runs these facilities and continuously spikes the prices for his own personal benefit. His disregard for the happiness of the rest of the town deeply angers the common people, and soon enough they invoke a revolution against his coporation.

Lena Barker ’18, James Blaisdell ’17, and Meghan Beck ’17

The musical won three Tony Awards in 2002. In addition to catchy tracks, the musical has many dimensions to it. The Director’s Note describes it as “a musical love story…a political satire, a scathing and irreverent social commentary, an absurdist melodrama, and a comedy.” Some of the contemporary issues it covers include “climate change, the privatization of natural resources, the fracturing of the social contract, and excessive corporate greed.”

Chelsea Hilend, the Marketing and Box Office Manager of the Annie Russell Theatre, pointed out that the message is extremely timely. The Marketing team chose to produce this musical at the end of last year, but the prevalence of the problems has bubbled up during the  recent election. The musical has become oddly applicable to the audience’s lives, which will make for a more engaging show.

But even if one is not looking for social-activist engagement in his or her musical, the pure talent and hard work put into the play will solidify the audience’s attention.

It is clear to see the countless hours of hard work that the students and faculty members involved have put into this production. The vocals of the ensemble blended perfectly, and the shifting forms of the choreography and stage positioning appeared to have been very complicated to learn.

Furthermore, there were rhythmic elements to some of the songs that were very intricate and must have taken hours to coordinate.

Some of the stars of the play include Meghan Beck ‘17, Casey Casteel ‘17, James Blaisdell ‘17, Lena Barker ‘18, and Nick D’Alessandro ‘18. Kaitlyn Harrington ‘18 is the dedicated Stage Manager.

As far as my own personal reflections, the preview was fast-paced, and the final production is sure to be mesmerizing with the completed lighting and elaborate costumes and makeup.

One of my favorite songs was “Tell Her I Love Her,” sung by Lena Barker ‘18 in the role of Little Sally, a wise young girl, also one of the play’s co-narrators. Another was “Run, Freedom, Run” which was a whole ensemble performance with a moment of song that slipped into resembling a church choir.

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