URINETOWN: THE MUSICALMusic and Lyrics by Mark Hollmann
Book and Lyrics by Greg Kotis
MainStage Irving-Las Colinas
Directed by Chris Robinson
Produced by Jill Stephens and Robin Stephens
Music Direction by Mark D. Miller
Choreography by Eddie Floresca
Scenic Design by Judd Vermillion
Costume Design by Tory Padden
Lighting Design by Sam Nance
Conductor/Piano - Mark D. Miller
Reed - Michael Dill
Percussion - Jay Majernik
Trombone/Euphonium - Michael Medrick
Bass - David Odegaard
Officer Lockstock - Mike Hathaway
Penelope Pennywise - Caroline Rivera
Bobby Strong - Kyle Montgomery
Little Sally - Keslie Ward
Hope Cladwell - Michelle Foard
Mr. McQueen - Jerry Downey
Caldwell B. Cladwell - Scott Bardin
Senator Fipp - E. Scott Arnold
Officer Barrel - Ryan Roach
Old Man Strong/Hot Blades Harry - Charles Wallace
Soupy Sue/ Cladwell's Secretary - Sahara Glasener-Boles
Tiny Tom/ Dr. Billeaux - Marcus Jauregui
Little Becky Two-Shoes/ Mrs. Millenium - Janelle Suzanne Lutz
Robby the Stockfish/ UGC Executive #2 - Nick Haley
Billy Boy Bill/ UGC Executive #1 - Travis Ponikiewski
Josephine Strong/ Old Woman - Kimberly Smith
Reviewed Performance: 8/4/2012
Reviewed by Kayla Barrett, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
The unconventional Brechtian plotline contradicts audience expectations of a happy ending and breaks the fourth wall while questioning its own reasoning. The absurd characters and symbolic scenarios, along with Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis' complex and surprisingly beautiful music, have made Urinetown one of my personal favorites. Urinetown takes place in a desolate town after a twenty year drought. Private toilets have been outlawed, and now the public must pay to use the restroom. These public amenities are run by corporate giant Urine Good Company, headed by the evil Caldwell B. Cladwell. If citizens relieve themselves in public or refuse to pay the fee, they are sent off to the dreaded Urinetown... wherever that may be! Young rebel and protagonist Bobby Strong decides to start a revolution, and falls in love with Hope Cladwell along the way.
ICT Mainstage's production of this quirky satire does not disappoint! Director Chris Robinson directs a talented cast of vocalists and works with a creative team to create a steam-punkish, mythical world. The spectacular spinning set, designed by Judd Vermillion, begins as a dark, derelict place. A dried up rusty water tower looms over an abandoned industrial street.
Sound Designer Rob Stephens completes the foggy ambiance with the sounds of hissing steam.
Mark D. Miller gets the first laugh when he is "locked up" in the orchestra pit. He immediately begins playing the piano and conducting the musicians. The orchestra is consistent throughout the show. They maintain proper volume and stay on point with the many different music styles in the score.
Costumes designer Tory Padden dresses the poor in grungy layers and steam-punk goggles. Little Sally wears a pink and yellow jumper, mismatched rainbow stockings and an aviator cap. The wealthy wear feathers, black and chrome, and the UGC laboratory team are dressed like futuristic mad scientists. Lighting by Sam Nance compliments the scenes. During "Look at The Sky," the lights go from dingy yellow to bright sky blue and then back and forth when Bobby looks at the sky for a humorous touch.
Mike Hathaway is perfect as the tongue-in-cheek narrator, Officer Lockstock. His interactions with Keslie Ward, as Little Sally, are highly entertaining. Little Sally constantly questions the logic of the play and Officer Lockstock plainly agrees. Lockstock explains to Sally, "Nothing can kill a show like too much exposition", to which Sally replies, "How about a bad subject matter? Or a bad title even? That could kill a show pretty good!" Ward uses her youthful voice to create a believable young character. She is adorable and funny as the precocious little street urchin. Her performances of "What is Urinetown?" and "Tell Her I Love Her" prove her abilities as a singer as well as a comedic actress.
Caroline Rivera's vocal talent is showcased in her role as Penelope Pennywise, the jaded woman who runs the poorest, filthiest urinal in town. Rivera leads the poor in a shrewd, hilarious version of "It's a Privilege to Pee". Her performance is engaging and she hits every note.
Kyle Montgomery is charming as Bobby Strong, the hero of the story. Bobby is Miss Pennywise's assistant custodian at Public Amenity Number 9, but after his own father is sent to Urinetown and UGC hikes the fees yet again, Bobby decides enough is enough. He starts a revolution! He hopes that one day people can pee for free! Montgomery's heroic portrayal is both sweet and rebellious. His voice shines in "Look at the Sky".
Bobby's love interest, Hope Cladwell is played by Michelle Foard. Hope is the daughter of the wealthy tyrant Caldwell B. Cladwell. She tries to make herself useful at her father's company headquarters by faxing- and copying, of course! Foard's exaggerated expressions, enthusiasm, and bright voice capture the essence and humor of the naively optimistic character.
Montgomery and Foard have great harmony in the charming duet "Follow Your Heart".
Scott Bardin is splendid as the wonderfully funny, ridiculously evil president and owner of Urine Good Company. He affectionately tells his daughter that "dreams are meant to be crushed". An awkward moment between Cladwell and Pennywise becomes a laugh out loud moment when Rivera exhibits absurdly seductive facial expressions. Bardin's reactions are great. He later leads an entertaining rendition of "Mister Cladwell", made complete with special effect bubbles, flashy choreography and steam-punk inspired costumes by Padden.
"Why Did I Listen to that Man" is a dramatic number with layered lyrics, fast tempo and it represents the height of excitement. This integral scene is mapped out by Robinson to create a complete picture on stage. Janelle Suzanne Lutz plays Little Becky Two Shoes and is awkwardly amusing. Hot Blades Harry is played by Charles Wallace. Wallace is energetic and entertaining as the loose cannon rebel. During "Snuff That Girl", his gruff voice is mischievously funny. Eddie Floresca's choreography shines in this cool jazz number of engaging highly-stylized and ever-changing movements.
I must admit, toward the end of the show, I forgot to take notes. I was so into the performance that I forgot for a moment why I was there. I was impressed that not only does ICT Mainstage execute the advanced score, but they also create a unique take on Urinetown. Floresca's choreography is exciting to watch. The steam-punk concept makes for a dark, surreal theme, while the top-notch performers leave songs in your head. Urinetown: The Musical is an ingenious comedy that invites you to question several topical notions in a non-threatening way. At one point, Little Sally says, "I don't think too many people are going to come see this show", to which Officer Lockstock replies, "Why do you say that, Little Sally? Don't you think people want to be told their way of life is unsustainable?" While you may not exactly have an epiphany while seeing this satirical musical, you will certainly have a good laugh. While you're in town, see Urinetown!
Dupree Theater, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, TX 75062
Limited Run through August 18th
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 2:30pm
Tickets are $18.00-$21.00 for adults and $16.00-$19.00 for seniors/students.
Student Rush tickets are $5.00 cash, only 5 minutes before curtain if available. To purchase tickets and for info: visit www.irvingtheatre.org or contact the box office at 972.252.2787