The Broadway musical “Urinetown” opened at the Gilbert Theater to sold-out shows, an indication that audiences are willing to overlook the odd title in exchange for an evening of hysterical entertainment.
Set in a dystopia where the masses are suffering from a drought, one giant corporation has monopolized bathroom usage. Citizens are forced into a pay-per-use urinal by law, with the ultimate punishment of being sent to Urinetown. The musical addresses important social issues and freedoms while keeping it fun with music.
The show is narrated by Officer Lockstock (played by Zech Williams) and Little Sally (played by Hannah Smith) who win the audience’s heart with their mesmerizing performances. Smith does a terrific job with her vocals and acting in her debut show at the Gilbert.
“Urinetown” is a satirical comedy written by Greg Kotis and directed at the Gilbert by Robyne Parrish. The show draws in the audience for a night filled with many laughs.
The first act reflects on the injustices done by the Urine Good Company and its president, Mr. Cladwell (played by Bill Saunders) — a shrewd, selfish man. The lead Bobby Strong (played by Tim Zimmerman) begins to light the fire of revolution and justice amongst the people after his father, Old Man Strong (played by Gabe Terry) breaks the law and uses the urine facility without paying and is sent to the ultimate mysterious bad place – Urinetown.
Hope Cladwell (played by Linda Flynn) is the naive, kind daughter of Mr. Cladwell, who falls in love with Bobby Strong, leading to a series of humorous interactions and drama.
“There is the star-crossed lover’s aspect,” said actor Jacquelyn Kessler (who plays McQueen).
While the lead urges the masses to uproot governmental control and tyranny, the urine facility’s supervisor Penelope Pennywise (played by Jennifer Newman), Lockstock, and rest of law enforcement and UGC’s employees resist their advances.
Newman, also in her debut at the Gilbert, deserves a special shoutout for her performance of Penelope Pennywise.
With musical delight, the show encompasses a classic class struggle between the rich and poor, the have and have nots and sends the audience for a spin to question different social constructs like the legal system, capitalism, corporations, corporate mismanagement and bureaucracy.
The latter half of the show focuses on the masses kidnapping Bobby Strong’s love interest and leading lady Hope, to get her father and villain to agree to their terms. The corrupt old man then refuses to save his daughter and has Strong arrested and sent to Urinetown.
What happens next reflects strongly on misuse of power and authority by the rich and law enforcement, as Urinetown is a violent death to anyone who disagrees with the authority. The production’s last bit shows Hope leading the masses against her father. The show, however, doesn’t necessarily end in happiness for all as many lose their lives or move away due to lack of water after their freedom led to overuse of the resources, as Lockstock narrates. Overall, the production delivers a fantastic time with great actors, band and a successful execution by the crew.
“It has all the things you want to see in the musical, it’s got love, heartbreak, death and fantastic characters, so any big Broadway musical lover is going to love this show,” Parrish said.
For tickets or more information call 910-678-7186 or visit www.gilberttheater.com
Above photo: The cast of "Urinetown" delivers an entertaining performance at the Gilbert Theater. (Photo by Tori Barker)