Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Spotlight on Urinetown at the Greenbelt Arts Center

By • Mar 10th, 2007 • Category: Interviews

Listen to Mike talk with Bill Tchakirides, who is directing Urinetown, which is now playing at the Greenbelt Arts Center [MP3 5:33 1.6MB].

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio. I am talking with Bill Tchakirides who is working on Urinetown with the Greenbelt Arts Center. Thanks for talking with me today, Bill.

Bill: Sure. Glad you called.

Mike: So tell me a little bit about the show. We’ve seen it once before. The name Urinetown turns off a lot of people. So tell us all about the show.

Bill: It’s extremely funny. There’s great music. Wonderful choreography by Rikki Howie. I think we have the best cast we’ve ever had to work with.

Mike: What’s the plot of the show?

Bill: The plot of the show is a town about 20 years after a major drought has continued to eliminate the water supply. People now have to pay to use a private utility in order to pee. People who are involved in running this utility are actually soaking the public for all it’s worth. There’s a revolution during the course of the show. There’s a love story between one of the poor people who is working for this company and the daughter of the company’s owner. There’s a revolution and I don’t want to give it away for the people who haven’t seen it, I don’t want to give away too much of how it ends. But it’s sort of a surprising ending.

Mike: It’s a fun show. It won several awards at the WATCH awards.

Bill: It also won three Tonys.

Mike: Oh, wow, I didn’t realize that.

Bill: It won best music, best book, and best director I think.

Mike: It’s a different show definitely. A lot of people get hung up on the name alone.

Bill: This is very funny. My mother called me up and said, “How could you do a show with that name!” She’s coming to see it the first matinee. It’s a show you could bring teenagers to. There’s not a dirty word in the whole show. It’s tremendous satire. It’s just wonderful. It has echos of all kinds of Broadway Musicals in it. There’s a little bit of Brecht and Weill. You hear bits of sounds that are like Les Miserables. Just about every musical you can think of is parodied somewhere through the course of the show.

Mike: How have the rehearsals gone and the dancing? Has that been pretty easy or pretty difficult to work out?

Bill: The choreography is tremendously complicated. She has done a terrific job with it. People have picked it up. We’ve been rehearsing this show for about three months. The dances are wonderful. People who have come to see some of the rehearsals this week have gotten a big kick out of it. I think they didn’t really expect the kind of professional dancing out of community theater show, but they’re certainly getting it.

Mike: What is the set like at the Greenbelt’s Arts Center?

Bill: It’s set up as a three quarter round. The set is really pretty minimal. We’ve tried some interesting lighting effects and visual effects that people will see when they get there, something that they may not expect. I was trained as a set designer. When I directed this show I tried to make my sets as minimal as possible. When I design for somebody else I make it very complex. But when I’m working for myself we get minimal set to focus on the actors. Our costumer Linda Bartash has done some great costume things with the show.

Mike: Tell me about the actor playing Bobby Strong.

Bill: Danny Ligsay is a very young man from Laurel Maryland. He came in on a reference from a friend of mine who teaches voice in Laurel. Came in and auditioned for the show. We just fell off our seats for him when he first came in. He wasn’t what we were expecting to cast in a show. Actually with a number of people. We saw them audition. All of a sudden we saw the character standing in front of us. These people really are the characters that are playing it to some extent. Danny is very good. I am getting a great kick out of him.

Mike: Tell us when and where Urinetown is playing, and how people can get tickets.

Bill: The Greenbelt Arts Center in Greenbelt Maryland. 123 Centerway in Greenbelt. It’s playing for the next three weekends in March. That’s Friday and Saturday nights. The house opens at 7:30. Show starts at 8. Sundays the 18th and 25th we have 2 PM matinees. It’s fifteen dollars a ticket, 12 dollars for seniors and students with id. Please make reservations. There are no reserved seats. It’s first come first served on the seating. If you don’t have a reservation, we get sold out very fast.

Mike: Ok, that sounds good. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the show?

Bill: Just that it’s wonderful and I hope to see a lot of people there.

Mike: I hope you get a bunch of people to come out. Thanks a lot for talking with me today.

Bill: Ok, thanks for calling.

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