Urinetown: The Musical at Pentacle Theater
Pentacle Theater is now showing Urinetown: The Musical until May 7. Winner of the 2002 Tony award for Best Original Musical Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Direction of a Musical; Urinetown is a satire on capitalism, power, and politics set in a town in the midst of a drought so extreme toilet use has to be regulated.
With music by Mark Hollmann, book by Greg Kotis, and lyrics by both Hollmann and Kotis; Urinetown was nominated for ten Tony awards and nine Drama Desk Awards for its original production. For their production, Pentacle Theater had the rare opportunity to consult with someone directly involved with the success of the first show, the original Tony winning director John Rando.
Thanks to the friendship between John Rando and Salem local Jeff Hart, owner of Allied Video, cast and crew for Urinetown were able to Skype with Rando and discuss their plans for the show and receive feedback.
Director of Pentacle’s Urinetown, Katie Lindbeck, said she was thrilled to have the chance to talk with Rando. A fan of Urinetown, Lindbeck said her persistence is the reason Pentacle is doing the musical in the first place.
“Since I saw it 10 years ago I’ve wanted to do it and I’ve been proposing it ever since,” said Lindbeck. “It was written 20 years ago but it’s political and social satire so you have ‘the rich folks get the good life/the poor folks get the woe/ In the end/it’s nothing you don’t know’. Lots of times in the study of history, that is a subject of other places and other times as well as the revolution or political-social change that those things cause. This is in a made up time and a made up place but that interaction is real and has been for a long time.”
Since open auditions were held for Urinetown, both high school students and members of the community were casted. One of three high schoolers in the show, and the only one from South, is Hope Ferns ‘16 who is a member of the ensemble.
“My favorite thing about Urinetown is the cast,” said Ferns “but also that it’s funny; it’s really funny and it’s appropriate for all ages and it touches base on a lot of social issues-oppression and capitalism, stuff like that-in a funny way.”
“What’s fun,” said Lindbeck,“is that, yes it’s a serious subject matter, but it is a smart, sassy, silly, absurd musical that has a dark comic satirical irreverent edge, and that’s a lot of times, especially for younger people, what you see a lot more comics have. Really it was kind of 20 years ago the beginning of all that, and that’s the effect it was predicted to have. The Daily Show, Colbert, Avenue Q and all those things are born out of this similar sensibility.”