Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Woodrow Wilson High School Urinetown

By • Nov 22nd, 2009 • Category: Cappies

The central conceit of the show Urinetown is that every citizen must pay a fee to use the bathroom, leading to popular uprising and rebellion. Unlike Urinetown‘s cast of colorful characters, who refuse to “pay to pee,” all the members of the sold-out house were happy to pay to see Woodrow Wilson High School’s production of Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis’s Broadway hit.

Featuring a large cast performing on a small stage, Urinetown‘s greatest strength was the rich, full sound of their ensemble singing. All of their notes were correct, and every voice blended together nicely as they nailed a difficult score. Several solo singers stood out as well, such as Maggie Roos, who played Little Sally, Jake Tempchin as Caldwell B. Cladwell, and Emma Haberman as Hope Cladwell. Roos’s performance of “Tell Her I Love Her,” stunned the ensemble and the audience with heart wrenching news of Bobby Strong’s death. Tempchin proved his worth in the song “Mr. Cladwell,” hitting some high notes without losing his good tone, and Haberman stepped up in the last few minutes with a gospel inspired take on “I See a River.” In general, the sound was amazing. Working without microphones made it hard to hear some performers, but that never interfered with the plot or overall performance.

The acting was good as well, especially in the case of Nathan Kohrman and Kevin Kelly, as Mr. McQueen and Hot Blades Harry, respectively. Kohrman elicited the most laughs from the audience with his hilarious fixed smile and nerdy mannerisms. Kelly was stunning as the twitchy, violent Hot Blades, as he walked the fine line between funny and disturbing. Although the ensemble seemed to lack energy on some songs, many members had personal characters that they never dropped, which really made the story seem more real. The swift scene changes between the run down streets of the people and the shining offices of the Urine Good Company (which controls all of the public bathrooms) were executed smoothly. The set also fit into the setting of the plot quite nicely. Cool additions like the emergence of the two cops, Officers Lockstock and Barrel, from a manhole in the stage were creative and realistic.

Overall, Wilson’s production of Urinetown was put together and executed admirably. The students took a satirical warning of humankind’s future and turned it into a wildly entertaining night of song, dance, jokes, and drama.

by Sarah McCully of Albert Einstein High School

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