Upper Arlington News

'Urinetown'

Wellington School to stage PG-rated musical

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Wellington School will present a rollicking production Nov. 1 and 2 that director Eleni Papaleonardos calls a "hilarious satirical musical with an embarrassing title."

Urinetown: the Musical, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the school, 3650 Reed Road. Tickets may be obtained through the school website, wellington.org.

Papaleonardos said the musical is rated PG for parental guidance suggested.

"Urinetown is a fantastic Tony Award-winning musical and a perfect example of 'don't judge a book by its cover.' In fact, one of the narrators makes fun of the title throughout the musical," she said.

Papaleonardos said Urinetown refers to other popular musicals, either within the music, the dialogue, choreography or character revelation, so students are learning about multiple musicals as they prepare for the production.

"I also think that when a theater program is connected to an academic institution, we have a duty to do something more than simply put on a great show," she said. "I'm always looking for work that challenges my students, not just as artists but as intellectuals, too. Urinetown, with its Brechtian tactics, political themes and focus on sustainability, does just that."

She said Bertolt Brecht was a German director and writer who wanted audiences to think and analyze theater rather than just getting swept up in emotion.

"Brecht wanted honesty on the stage, not the performance of honesty, so the actors in the Brechtian Urinetown acknowledge the act of singing onstage and the cliches of musical theater," she said.

The musical takes place in a grim, Gotham-like city of the future, where a 20-year drought has occurred. The government has banned private toilets and citizens must use "pay-to-pee" toilets regulated by the Urine Good Co., which charges exorbitant prices.

There are harsh laws to make sure people pay to pee and if those laws are broken, the offender is sent to a penal colony called Urinetown, never to return.

Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, the musical points out musical theater cliches throughout the show, with references to Les Miserables, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and others, Papaleonardos said.

Students in the cast include Redd Ingram as Bobby Strong; Lillian Tyack as Little Sally; Nina Shamansky as Little Becky Two-Shoes; Lucie Kirk as Soupy Sue; Emma Hans as Josephine "Ma" Strong; Alex Tobin as Hot Blades Harry and Joseph "Old Man" Strong; Lucy Caborn as Tiny Tom; Sarah Schmitz as Robbie the Stockfish; and Madjo Hyzdu as Billy Boy Bill.

Students in "The Poor Chorus" are Bakari Brown, Zoe Case, Keilah Causey, Quinn Coleman, Em Hammett, Khalli Jallaq, Miranda Johnson, Zach Kauffman, Mason McIntyre, Charles Nandor, Cassie Robbins, Josh Roseler and Tova Seltzer.

Students in "The Rich Chorus" are Rachel Carr, Julia Doran, Anusha Kalyanasundaram, Zoe Mak, Kate Miller and Charis Nandor.

Musical director is Lisa Springer; choreographer is Whitney Thomas; conductor is James Becker; technical director is J. Aaron Frim; student technical director is Josh Roseler; stage manager is Katie King; and assistant director/dance captain is Halle Roberts.

Costumes are by Lotte Brewer and Sophie Hess.

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