Theater Info for the Washington DC region

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Urinetown

By • Feb 24th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

“What is Urinetown?” is a question that has been asked not only by inquiring theatergoers, but by members of the cast as well. The answer: Urinetown is a hilarious musical performed by St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.

Urinetown is an award winning satirical comedy that pokes fun at politics, social irresponsibility, and even other musicals. Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis and directed by John Rando, Urinetown was first performed at the New York Fringe Festival. It debuted on Broadway on September 20, 2001 and enjoyed 965 performances before closing on January 18, 2004. It was nominated for seven Tony awards and won three, including the award for best original score.

The story begins in a corrupt and drought-ridden city controlled by a ruthless businessman named Caldwell B. Cladwell, who is head of the Urine Good Company, or the UGC, a water conservation tyrant. Cladwell makes the citizens pay high prices to use the public bathrooms and uses his merciless accomplice Penelope Pennywise and her sidekick Bobby Strong to enforce the fees at the poorest of the city’s toilets. But when Bobby Strong’s father is carted off to the horrid and infamous Urinetown for illegally peeing on the sidewalk, Bobby starts to question the rules he used to enforce. With the help of Cladwell’s daughter, Hope, and the rebellious and poor patrons of the bathroom called Public Amenity #9, Bobby sets off on a quest to make the city a better place to pee.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School’s production of Urinetown was delightful and entertaining. Though there was low energy throughout the cast in the beginning of the show, by the second act the characters were fired up and excited. With the help of the narrator, Officer Lockstock, and his good friend Little Sally, the audience enjoyed every jovial and unexpected twist in the plot.

Jesse Schellenger, who played Bobby Strong, kept the musical alive with his high energy and clear vocals. His talent was especially apparent in the song “Run, Freedom, Run” where he leads the rebels in an uplifting song to remind them of their revolutionary purpose. Jacob Horn and Alex Lis-Perlis, who portrayed Officer Lockstock and Little Sally respectively, had good chemistry and kept the show moving with their amusing narratives.

The songs “Don’t Be the Bunny” and “Act One Finale” were lively and full of vocal talent. “Act One Finale” was especially enjoyable and entertained the audience with memorable lines and references to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Les Miserables.

The sets and costumes of St. Andrew’s production of Urinetown were well made and appropriate for the slums of Urinetown. The all student-conducted St. Andrews Stage Band did an excellent job of mastering a difficult score and was always on cue. A handful of technical issues with the sound and the lighting didn’t stop the members of the cast from moving forward.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal School’s production of Urinetown is a wonderfully thought-provoking experience. Combining life lessons with parodies of other musicals, cast members learn to trust themselves and to follow their hearts. With a funny script and a strong cast of characters, Urinetown was everything you don’t expect in a musical and more.

by Kelly Danver of T.C. Williams

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