I took a walk today with a Native American student of mine in a humanities class I am teaching. She has started going to our theater now and then, and I asked if she had seen the new student show. "Oh," she said, "you mean Urination?" "No, no" I said, "Urinetown." "Right," she said, "I knew it had urine in it."
Actually there's not much urine in Urinetown which is quite a clean if black little musical, but now that I think about it, Urination is almost a better title for our production because in its way its kind of a revelation. This is the first all student musical we have ever produced--student actors and student musicians. That sounds like we're just asking for trouble, or at least for high school (no disrespect intended). None of our students have had an experience like this before. And the wonder of it is not that they are doing it, but that they are doing it very well, as I found out for myself last weekend. There are no Broadway voices in this show--but in our theatre you don't need them. But there are a dozen and more student singer/actors and they all look like they belong in the roles they are playing. They are supported very well by the student band under Cynthia Fox's direction. Roy Ballard's urban rubble set is a wonder. The melodramatic lights serve the lurid show very well. The costumes are a kind of miracle. And every single element looks like it belongs with every other element. This is a completely coherent production. The singing is fine, the dancing (choreographed by Michael Gold) is first rate, and Susan Dawn Carson's direction is detailed, lucid and inventive. The students, thanks to us, got the support of a fully professional and very gifted creative team. But in the end it is the students themselves who deliver this show, each one of them well out of a comfort zone, but getting more comfortable all the time. This is just as it should be.
I strongly you suggest you go see the student production of Urinetown, which plays only through this weekend. I am proud of everyone in this show. The students have become a real ensemble, a tribe, a Urine nation. You'll be so happy you went!