Spring musical showcases freedom, rebellion
A 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company, Urine Good Company, which profits by charging admission for one of life's most basic needs. A fee hike prompts a rebel worker to plan a revolution against the UGC and lead the people to freedom.
That's the premise of "Urinetown — The Musical," the Tony Award-winning musical that will be staged by Geneva High School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The musical, which opened on Broadway in September 2001, pokes fun at the legal system, capitalism, corporate power and political mismanagement, and prompts the audience to think of how a single evil company profits off one of humanity's basic amenities.
Music and lyrics are by Mark Hollman with the book and lyrics by Greg Kotis. The idea for the show was born when Kotis, then a student traveling in Europe on a budget, encountered pay toilets at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. That experience gave rise to a play featuring a Gotham-like city where all the toilets are controlled by a single greedy corporation.
"Why stage 'Urinetown — The Musical?' In the coming months, as we are subjected to further political posturing in preparation for the upcoming presidential election, what better way is there to address capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement and municipal politics than through a musical which satirizes all of those issues," Director Roxanne Curtis said. Her actors have been stretched mentally and physically "as they have embraced edgy characterizations, challenging musical arrangements and choreography that parodies everything from "Les Miserables" to "West Side Story."
The cast includes Noelle Humbert as Penelope Pennywise, who runs Public Amenity Number 9 with the help of her assistant (and the rebel hero of the show), Bobby Strong, portrayed by Connor Colbert. Josh Harper is Urine Good Company owner Caldwell B. Cladwell and Clare Stribling is his daughter, Hope Cladwell. Megan Grant is Little Sally and Becca Grischow portrays Little Becky Two Shoes. Rian Kormos is Officer Lockstock and Nick Bianchina is Officer Barrel. Other cast members include Robbie Brouillette as Dr. Billeaux, Jeff Hersheway as Mr. McQueen, Joey McCall as Sen. Fipp, Trapper Sershon as Old Man Strong, and Alex Howe as Tiny Tom.
Also: Mary Kate Stanfa as Soupy Sue, Zane Shaw as Bobby the Stockfish, Meredith Dillon as Josephine Strong, Elise Watson as Mrs. Millennium, Brandon Damore as Hot Blades Harry, Tommy Hintz as Billy Boy Bill, Angelo Gelfuso and Jordan Graber as the male cops, and Kelsey Jaffer, Sabrina Jaffer, Bianca Shaw and Kristin Tucholski as the female cops.
Members of the ensemble are Molly Carberry, Calen Colbert, Angelo Gelfuso, Jordan Graber, Angelie Humbert, Kelsey Jaffer, Sabrina Jaffer, Anika Nims, Bianca Shaw and Kristin Tucholski.
Tickets are $10, $7 for students and seniors. They can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Geneva High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Due to the nature of some of the humor, it may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Parental discretion is recommended.
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