Urinetown (The Musical)
Theater West End in Sanford, Florida
Music and Lyric by Mark Hollmann
Book by Greg Kotis
Starring Addie Atkins, Anthony Geluso, Arianna Mangus and Angeline Dimoglou
This is a fitting show for today’s situation. Times are tough, and everyone suffers as they wait to pay to pee. And no chance of doing it in the bushes gets you sent off to “Urinetown, ” the cops will arrest you and send you to “Urinetown.” And just like the farm mom and dad sent your first pet dog to, you ain’t coming back. We get our exposition from Officer Lockstock (Geluso) and Little Sally (Mangus). They explain how things runs: Mr. Cladwell (Sam Lipsey) runs the “Urine Good Company Â©” They hold a monopoly on all the Public Conveniences, and no unauthorized micturition is allowed. When you gotta go, you gotta go the UGC. We meet the dregs of this city at Public Convenience #9, run by Penelope Pennywise (Aubrey Gore) and her idealistic assistant Billy Boy Bill (Atkins). The misery of the masses convinces Billy to raise a revolution, and they kidnap young Hope Cladwell (Dimoglou) and flee into the sewers. And like so many revolutions, the rich get richer, the dead get deader, but nothing really changes. Idealist Billy is sent to Urinetown, and without professional management, the revolution pisses away all the potable water, ultimately leaving the poor dead and dehydrated, and the rich sunning in Rio. So much for Idealism.
While the audience was limited and this was a one weekend student production, it was quite enjoyable. I hear the run extend due to a municipal plumbing problem which is about as much irony you can have in Sanford, FL. The story line here feels like a parody of Les Mis, complete with the big production numbers, limited of course by the technical constrains of Theater West End and the fact everyone had to sing through a mask. This did tend to limit audibility somewhat, but the Covid limited seating compensates with fewer sound absorbing patrons and their candy wrappers. Acting was excellent all around with Lipsy’s Cadwallader suitably sleaze and his adjective laden daughter Hope creates a nice family tension. Sally seems mostly a commentator to Geluso’s narration. The musical quality was good even if recorded, and the addition of a few non-script commenting on the virus lines drew a few good added laughs.
Like all theatrical operations, times are tough at TWE. There’s no concession service, and it will be a few months before a full run of a show crosses this stage. That may well be “American Idiot” which ought to sell well. But at least tonight the show did go on, and it went on quite well. And in the recent dark days, they redecorated the lobby, and it looks much nicer.