Musical Forum Presents: Urinetown

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Desperately seeking something to do this weekend sans Halloween-themed debauchery? Suffering October-withdrawal and looking to fill your monthly costume quota? Urine You’re in luck! Musical Forum’s Urinetown is happening all weekend in the PW downspace.

You may know Urinetown from its 3 Tony Awards, or as the sole “U” answer in all ‘Broadway Musical by Alphabet’ Sporcle quizzes… just me? You may know musical theatre from its series of campy cliches and tropes, many of which are satirized and subverted in Greg Kotis’s biting script. Urinetown takes place in a semi-dystopian society in which water has become a scare-enough resource to warrant the privatization of bathrooms and stringent enforcement of the commodification of the right to pee (less outlandish in light of the California drought).

Consequently, the ‘privilege to pee’ exists as a right reserved for the wealthy elite and serves as a comedically-heightened escalation of modern-day class inequality (or perhaps not hyperbolic at all given the very real existence of disorderly conduct laws including public urination penalties designed to target and criminalize the base needs of survival of those without access to private homes …too Urban Studies for this post?)

Regardless, Urinetown explores issues no less topical than class warfare, submission to authority, and the potential naiveté of revolution. The set itself, designed by Josh Cape ’17, uses levels to comment on the dominant and un-checked status of big business as it controls those below. Under the direction of Ada Dolan-Zalaznick ’17, Urinetown offers something for everyone.  Fans of traditional musical theatre will enjoy musical numbers, directed by Erin Reifler ’17, featuring a vocally-strong ensemble, and backed by the show’s true unsung heroes (literally), the musicians. Fans of less traditional narratives and darker humor, will enjoy a cynically-appealing second act.

The cast, led by William Conard ’19’s voice and Mo Akande ’16‘s comedic timing, play both to and against type. Conard and Talia Brenner ’19 offer the show’s quintessential star-crossed lovers, divided by class and family. True to form, they even kiss before learning each other’s name–a move that plays romantically on stage, but only fuels your friends’ concerns about your ‘drinking problem,’ in real life. In contrast, Dan Rapuano ’17 well serves as the story’s villain and the show’s personification of corporate greed.

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Certain cast members, like Akande, infuse the show with the facetious humor demanded of such satirical text. Kieran Barry ’16, trained singer, offers the show’s droll, self-referential narration. Barry also serves as one half of the town’s corrupt law enforcement along with Ezra Dulit-Greenberg ’18. Together, they provide both physical comedy and chemistry. Canning Robb ’17 and Anthony Eiselionis ’19 lead the cast in an amusing and charming song about the dangers of mob mentality.

In sum, Urinetown parodies many of the modern-day political issues most ripe for commentary and is well worth the trip to the downspace. Urinetown opens tonight and runs through Monday, 11/9. Times and information can be found here, and tickets are available at PW one hour before each performance.

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Images via Danielle Perelman ’17.

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