Review: 'Urinetown' an impressive ensemble effort

Despite its name, which can admittedly raise a few eyebrows among potential ticket buyers, "Urinetown" the musical is a well-structured, multiple-award-winning musical satire that takes a well-placed stab at a number of targets, including corporate corruption, local government, social responsibility and, believe it or not, musical theater!

If you haven't given this one a try, the Champaign Urbana Theatre Company offers you a chance with its current production, which opened Thursday night in the Parkland College Theatre.

Under the direction of Tim Broeker, this offering, the eighth annual Kathy Murphy Student Production, features a capable cast and a high-voltage, hard-working ensemble that fills the total 126 minutes on stage with all they've got.

Inspired by the playwright's true experiences during a low-budget student jaunt through Europe, "Urinetown" portrays a town reduced to using pay toilets because of a 20-year drought that has caused a devastating water shortage.

The UGC (Urine Good Company) controls the public amenities, and CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell continues to impose rate hikes to line his own pockets, thus denying the basic needs of the public.

When the last straw is drawn, the citizens revolt and turn the UGC upside down, with the help of Cladwell's own daughter, Hope. Will she reign supreme?

Kudos to Broeker and his team, music director Cullyn Murphy for his top-notch vocal and orchestral leadership, scenic designer Bernie Wolf, who created the perfect playing space to allow for swift pacing and easy transitions, choreographer Sarah Mohr for her engaging movement and costume designer Sheri Doyle for creating a splendid palette.

The teamwork resulted in an enjoyable production that showcased some impressive local talent.

Tricia Stiller serves as director for the McLean County Diversity Project's Theatre Program, the Miller Park Summer Theatre Program and the Penguin Project McLean County. She can be contacted at triciastiller@msn.com.

If you go

What: The Champaign Urbana Theatre Company's eighth annual Kathy Murphy Student Production of "Urinetown," a musical by composer and lyricist Mark Hollmann and lyricist and librettist Greg Kotis; directed by Tim Broeker, with music direction by Cullyn Murphy

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (June 15); 2:30 p.m. Sunday (June 16); 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (June 20-22); 2:30 p.m. June 23

Where: Parkland College Theatre, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C

Tickets: $16 for adults; $12 for senior citizens 60 and older and for students through college; $8 for children 12 and younger

Ticket information: 344-3884; http://www.cutc.org; or buy at the box office one hour before curtain time

Running time: Two hours and six minutes, including one 15-minute intermission

 

Topics (1):Theater

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