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.

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Musical Forum Presents: The Last Five Years

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Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years is a contemporary classic, exploring the life and death of love through the marriage of Cathy Hiatt and Jamie Wellerstein. This weekend, Brown’s sublime story comes to life as Musical Forum’s latest production. Directed by Andrew Ganem ’16 and Hannah Margolin ’16, this rendition of The Last Five Years is absolutely phenomenal; every element–from the dynamic orchestra to the electrifying voice of each actor–is brimming with passion.

The script, consisting of monologue-songs that alternate between the two characters (each of whom progresses in chronological opposition to the other), approaches the arc of passion from all angles, providing unparalleled insight into the tragedy of failed love through its unique narrative form. This approach forces the viewer into a constant struggle between riding the excitement of the relationship’s beginning and bearing the weight of its devastating end. Brown’s story, complete with all its juxtapositions, nostalgia, and irony, engages the viewer and becomes an emotional rollercoaster for every audience member.

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However, Musical Forum’s rendition of The Last Five Years is so much more than its script; this breathtaking rendition transforms Brown’s love story into an almost visceral experience.

The production is characterized by its stunning dynamics across all fronts. The set, designed by Evan Finkle ’15 and Emma Margulies ’18, is constantly transforming before the viewer’s eye, while the lighting, directed by Ben Chesler ’15 and Emma Davis ’17, perfectly accentuates every moment. Even the props, devised by Wendy Ginsberg ’15,  have lives of their own, evoking humor and brutal irony at pivotal moments.

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What to do this weekend: February 8 – February 10

What to do tonight

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous (and aren’t planning to spend this weekend bundled up with your laptop, like I am), serious props to you! Here are a few ideas to coax you out of your dorm room and out into the Winter Wonderland that Providence is becoming.

1. American Idiot, Green Day Musical

Where: The Providence Performing Arts Center (220 Weybosset Street)
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Why: Your inner 13-year-old will be overjoyed, a feeling your outer 13-year-old never had the luxury of experiencing.

Tonight is opening night of American Idiot, a musical based on the award-winning Green Day album with the same name. If the thought of Green Day brings back memories of your first middle-school crush, colorful iPod nanos, and long school bus rides, this could be just the nostalgia experience you need. And surprise! the plot is centered on suburbian teen angst. Everyone either went through that and needs to laugh about it, or never did and wishes they had. So what are you waiting for? Pull on those snowboots, call up your favorite cab driver, and head on down to the Providence Performing Arts Center tonight!

2. Mardi Gras Ball

Where: Fete Lounge, 103 Dike Street
When:
Saturday Night, 8 p.m.
Why:
To forget about the snow for a while and pretend you’re in New Orleans!

What’s that holiday that’s right around the corner? No, not Valentine’s day… it’s Mardi Gras! Oh, right! That wonderful day of masks, beads, indecent exposure and jazz, and you can find it all this Saturday night at Fete Lounge’s Chanteuse Mardi Gras Ball. A live band, complete with brass section, promises to keep your groove-thang shaking all night long, and according to the event page, “drunken revelry will be justly rewarded!” Haven’t you always wanted to earn those beads?

3. Providence Bruins hockey game

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center
When: Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Why: To show off your Providence pride!

If you’re sick of watching college sports or want an unforgettable first date with that hot athlete who finally said “yes,” make the trek down to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for a rough and tough hockey game. This Sunday, the Providence Bruins take on the Manchester Monarchs in what is sure to be an adrenaline-rush of a hockey game. Hundreds of screaming fans, men on ice skates, and only a hop, skip, and a jump from campus, there’s no reason not to go!


‘Next to Normal’ is no normal musical

To everyone that slept through too many of Prof. Hayden’s 9 a.m. Abnormal Psychology classes, Next to Normal is here to refresh your memory. Zach Rufa ’14 has taken on the daunting task of directing this Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about a woman suffering from bipolar disorder. This show examines the toll mental illness can take on a family. Rufa does a nice job of handling such challenging material with support from his talented cast and crew.

A small cast of characters keeps the show moving with their powerful vocal talent. Emily Kassie ’14, who plays the bipolar mother, captures the complexity and conflict of someone who can’t comprehend reality. Although Kassie is half her character’s age, her presence and commitment to every moment combats this and is really the backbone of the show. Sarah Gage ‘15 plays the family’s daughter and stuns with her emotional variability and belting abilities. Similarly, Alex Ostroff ’14, Gavin Kramar ’15, and Elias Spector-Zabuksy ’15 all hold their own against these two talented women who control the world of Next to Normal. Continue Reading


We Can Rebuild Him puts the pieces together

Every two years, a student-written musical is selected by Brownbrokers, the original student-written musical theater organization, and then put on the main stage. This provides one of the only opportunities for students to see their writing performed in the Stuart Theater. This year, it is We Can Rebuild Him by Deepali Gupta ’12. The piece is musically directed by Andrew Hertz ’04, an adjunct lecturer, and is directed by Talya Klein MFA ’12. (Some of you may recognize Hertz and Klein from their time teaching such courses as History of Musical Theater or TA30, respectively).

We Can Rebuild Him is an unconventional musical about a disconnected family that tries to put back together the body parts of their dead son, Sam. As the story goes, Sam’s heart somehow kept beating, even after his body was cut into pieces. This heart is what keeps the family moving forward, trying to connect his body and rebuild the connection to each other. Continue Reading