Visit “Urinetown” at the Ring Theatre

Photo credit: Jerry Herman Ring Theatre
Photo credit: Jerry Herman Ring Theatre

Welcome to “Urinetown,” a dark comedy musical that satirizes capitalism, rebellions, politics, corporate greed and the idea of the musical itself.

With music by Mark Hollman, book by Greg Kotis and lyrics by both Hollman and Kotis, “Urinetown” opened at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre on Friday, April 19. The production is directed by Maha McCain, accomplished actor and assistant professor of theatre arts.

The musical tells the story of a town with a water shortage so severe that one man capitalized on the drought, founding Urine Good Company (UGC) and setting up pay-per-use bathrooms. After dealing with the drought and strict social divides for twenty years, the poor population decide that they have had enough and begin to rebel against the corporation.

The show humorously alludes to numerous other musicals, including “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story,” “Guys and Dolls” and more. Self-proclaimed theatre kids should attempt to catch as many references as they can when seeing the show!

Naphtailda Jean Charles, a junior majoring in musical theatre, takes on the role of Penelope Pennywise, who runs Public Amenity #9, one of the poorest bathrooms in town.

“‘Urinetown’ is a show about the meaning of liberation and how one person can inspire others to fight for what’s right,” Jean Charles said.

Joy Missey, a junior studying musical theatre, plays Hope Cladwell, the female protagonist and daughter of Caldwell B. Cladwell, founder of UGC.

“Our show takes the audience on an epic journey,” Missey said.

Kyle Hendricks, a senior musical theatre major, takes on the role of Mr. McQueen, who works for UGC.

“McQueen is an absolute goofball. My favorite thing about him is his heart for those close to him,” Hendricks said. “It’d be very easy to play McQueen as an evil rich man in this show, but really he’s a sheltered man who is fighting for what he thinks is best for himself and those closest to him.”

The cast, crew and creative team have had a wonderful time throughout the rehearsal process. Cast members share that working with director Maha McCain, musical director John Berst, choreographer Christine Mazeppa and violence and intimacy director Burton Tedesco, has proved to be an excellent experience for all involved.

“This has been one of the best rehearsal processes I’ve ever been through,” Missey said. “The actors were really allowed to play and discover the world they were in, and everyone on the team was so kind to one another.”

Working on “Urinetown” has been “a wonderful way to end my time at the U,” Hendricks said. “Since the very first rehearsal, the cast has felt comfortable enough to experiment with new choices every night so that the show’s humor can flourish come opening night.”

UM students should take a trip to the Ring Theatre to see “Urinetown” for a variety of reasons: Broadway-level choreography and vocals, spectacular costumes, special effects and an abundance of laughter.

“Our cast, crew and entire creative team has worked extremely hard for the past two months, and our intention is to tell you an inspiring story while making you pee your pants (pun intended),” Jean Chales said.

“So whether you want a break from your school work and just want to sit down and have a good laugh, or whether you want to see a fulfilling story filled with action and high stakes, Urinetown is the place you’ll want to go,” she added.

Interested students with a ‘Cane Card can attend for free tonight, Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices for the other performances are $12 for students, $27 for adults and $24 for alumni, faculty and seniors.

The Ring Theatre box office hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12-4pm. Call (305) 284-3355 for more information.