Through October 15|
URINETOWN: The Musical Subversive Theatre Collective/Manny Fried Playhouse
“Urinetown” is the perfect musical for the lefty atmosphere of Subversive Theatre, a society whose bathrooms are controlled by a private monopoly, enforced by the police.
Caldwell B. Cladwell’s (Michael Starzynski) family had taken control after some sort of ecological catastrophe had destroyed the water supply, not the water system, the actual supply of water.
It seems to be set in New York City, described here as a Gotham-like city.
Not only does the Urine Good Company,company control the toilets, there is a charge to use them and many people can’t afford the cost and resort to the street, with “It’s a Privilege to Pee.”
This all leads to a revolt against UGC and a doomed triumph.
Perhaps we might trumpet it as “A New Hope.”
The musical centers on the poor people who have to use one particular public urinal, Amenity #9, supervised by Officer Blackstock (director Jeffrey Coyle) and Officer Barrell (Tyler Brown), trying to control Little Sally (Bethany Burrows), Old Man Strong (Matthew Mooney) and Bobby Strong (Ryan Kaminski), with Ms. Pennywise (Jenn Stafford) as the cash collector.
After the police disappear Old Man Strong, Bobby leads a revolt, backed by Home Cladwell (Erin Coyle).
There are some objections to Cladwell’s monopoly, held off by bribes paid through Senator Fipp (Christopher Andreana) who spreads the wealth among those who set the rules and the police as an occupying force keeping the rules.
Cladwell has the usual network of sycophants to encourage his worse behavior, especially Mr. McQueen (Michael Wachowiak).
It’s not that hard since Cladwell has little sympathy for the forced customers, “Don’t Be The Bunny.”
The comic team of Blackstock and Barrel search the city while Bobby and Hope fall in love, at least until the revolutionaries decide they can’t trust her and tie her up in a chair.
It’s a hunt through secret places in the city until Bobby turns down a bribe to end the war and is taken to Urinetown to be killed, basically being tossed off the top of a building after announcing of Hope, “Tell Her I Love Her.”
It’s a twisting end, leaving Cladwell sent to Urinetown and Hope in charge, announcing the toilet charge is gone, “I See A River.”
There’s a minor problem, Cladwell was right about the water supply and it quickly disappears and people start dying of thirst.
The citizens are left with free urinations and no water to do it.
Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis manage to go after all sorts of people in this story of the monopoly actually protecting a depleted environment, an irony few fail to notice.
Director Coyle presents a strong show, although music director Allan Paglia’s music is a little too loud in the Manny Fried Playhouse.
Coyle himself is more than a little over the top as Blackstock.
Perhaps the show’s director needed to have him tone it down.
This is a strong cast, Starzynski, Burrows and Stafford.
There’s the usual strong choreography from Doug Weyand.
“Urinetown:The Musical” is an interesting show about rich and poor and our world.
It’s also a strong production well worth seeing.
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