By Megan Grabowski
Performances are now through November 20th. Produced by Haley Hiller for Stage 62, based on a book by Mark Kotis, music written by Mark Hollmann, and lyrics penned by Kotis and Hollmann. At the designated historical landmark the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie.
A successful performance requires skillful casting to acquire a charming company of artists the audience will love, even the wicked characters you will love to hate. The story takes place in the not-so-distant future after a 20-year drought spawned the “Stink Years”, and a water shortage has become so dire that private toilets are outlawed. The citizens are forced to pay to use public amenities controlled by Urine Good Co. (UGC) owner Caldwell B. Cladwell (Matthew J. Rush) under the guise of solving one of the greatest environmental threats to humankind. UGC charges residents a fee to pee, and anyone who can’t afford the cost or resorts to public urination faces banishment to the mysterious ‘Urinetown.’
The story expresses the growing frustrations of citizens at the mercy of capitalistic greed. It does so with truly lovable characters (even those we love to hate), a love story, a revolution, and some enjoyable tunes.
Directed by Art Deconcllis and choreographed by Alex Manalo, this production is delightful in many ways. Deconcliis utilizes the stage space expertly, moving the cast fluidly and comfortably. The dance numbers are clean and engaging, with the correct dose of comical relief.
Narrated by a suave and sophisticated Officer Lockstock (Jeff Johnston) and the adorable, baby-faced Little Sally (Alaina Turocy) keep the show moving with their witty exchanges. Hero Bobby Strong (David Holderbaum) shines in his role as revolutionary along -side his love interest, the pining Hope Cladwell (Tess Walsh). As the show progresses, we root for the poor, a vibrant ensemble of riff-raff but can’t hate the villains. Their energy and talent is far too engaging, especially the manager of Amenity #9, Penelope Pennywise (Joyce Hinnebusch) who effortlessly gets the show rolling with ‘It’s a Privilege to Pee.” Other notable numbers include ‘Mr. Cladwell‘, ‘Cop Song‘, ‘Don’t Be the Bunny‘, ‘Snuff That Girl’ and ‘Why Did I Listen to That Man?’.
As a frequent Stage 62 theatergoer, I’m adding Urinetown: The Musical to my list of favorites. From the expertly designed lighting to the boundless talent on stage, this performance is a remarkably executed production.
Urinetown: The Musical runs Thursdays- Sundays, November 10th- 20th, 2022. Masks are strongly encouraged. Tickets at https://www.stage62.org/