‘Urinetown’ provides a night of entertainment

Brian Lang

Ellanor Collins who plays Officer Lockstock in the production of “Urintetown” practices one of the songs at rehersal Feb. 9. Photo by Avery Whaite
Brian Lang

With its unconventional title and unusual subject matter, “Urinetown” may seem like a poor choice for a musical, but this zany production by the MSU theater department successfully pulls it off.

This hilarious comedy makes fun of conventional theater, criticizes capitalism and bureaucracy and turns the expectation of a happy ending on its head. For those tired of traditional theater, “Urinetown” is the show to see!

“Urinetown” is a musical comedy written by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis and directed by Christie Maturo, assistant professor of theater. It centers around a fictional city in the midst of an intense drought. A powerful corporation, “Urine Good Company,” has set high fees on bathrooms and anyone who doesn’t use these bathrooms is sent to the mysterious Urinetown. Young Bobby Strong leads a rebellion in hopes that everyone can pee for free.

One of the best parts of this show were the lead actors, Samuel Mitchell and Ilka Megee playing Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell. Both were great choices for their parts, leading the production with strong voices and excellent acting. Their duet “Follow Your Heart” was both touching and funny.

Kalli Root and Ellanor Hattie Collins, playing Little Sally and Officer Lockstock had great chemistry, as they frequently broke the fourth wall to add witty observations about the events of the show. They acted as the show’s narrators and did an excellent job of projecting and making their jokes land.

The choreography made the dance numbers shine, and the ensemble’s energy was contagious. One of the best parts of the show were the scooters. Elanor Hattie Collins broke her leg before the show opened, but instead of that deterring her, she and her partner Officer Barrel (Addrian Gaut Jr.) rode around on scooters. It made their “authority” even more comical and only made the show funnier.

The set design was another outstanding aspect of this production. A sign saying, “Urinetown” was hung above the stage in bright yellow letters, and the scenery and backdrop added a dilapidated feel to the set. It conveyed the poverty and misery in the fictional town, but was also a great space for the fun dance numbers.

The only complaint about this show is the lack of microphones for the cast. This show is filled with witty phrases and zingers, but many of them went unheard. Some of the actors’ voices were drowned out by the orchestra, and it was hard to distinguish what was going on at some points. However, the actors were clearly trying to project their voices, mostly successfully.

“Urinetown” is unlike nearly any other musical in that it constantly parodies conventional theater. Various songs parody “Annie,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “West Side Story.”

The characters fall neatly into their archetypes of hero, damsel in distress and evil corporation. The actors hilariously overplay their surprise constantly, each time evoking laughter from the audience.

“Urinetown” is a must-see show for students. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and its frequent plot twists keep the audience on their toes. The cast and crew create an entertaining production that students will love.

“Urinetown” is playing this Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM in the Fain Fine Arts Center Theatre.

Tickets available in the Fain Fine Arts Building.

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