Did you know that it is a privilege to pee? In the political satire Urinetown: The Musical, a public bathroom becomes a public amenity and there’s a charge to use it in order to keep the town from running out of water.
With a reputation of producing acclaimed and audience-loved shows, Fabrefaction Theatre Company has staged a unique musical under the clever direction of Heidi Cline McKerley, featuring the amusing choreography of Jeff McKerley.
This tongue-in-cheek musical doesn’t always take itself seriously (nor other musicals, which get spoofed in places). As the narrator, Officer Lockstock (Bart Hansard) has a meta-narrative that comments on the show itself with Little Sally (Christina Hoff) that guides the audience along through this hilarious and extravagant ride. It is in their conversations where we learn that this unconventional musical isn’t necessarily a happy one.
After his father is sent to Urinetown (where those guilty of urinating anywhere but in a public amenity are sent), Bobby Strong (Nick Arapoglou) begins a quest to free the citizens of his town from the corruption of the Urinegood Company and its greedy owner Caldwell B. Cladwell (Jeff McKerley). When Bobby falls for Cladwell’s daughter Hope (Caroline Freedlund), the situation gets complicated.
Arapoglou leads the cast admirably and has great chemistry with Freedlund, who is one of the most memorable performers in the production. Not only does she belt out flawless vocals, but she shows sharp comedic skill. Likewise, McKerley’s humorous performance as Cladwell mixes the right amount of over-the-top acting into the show. As Penelope Pennywise, Kayce Grogan Wallace is witty and delivers powerhouse solos.
As great as the onstage talent is, the technical talent shines just as much. The set designed by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay fills the stage with a run-down urban street scape that compliments the show nicely. But, it is their costume design that stands out. From tattered clothes with sewn in patches to the business suits of the office workers, the choices couldn’t be any better.
Urinetown: The Musical plays at midtown’s Fabrefaction Theatre Company through October 20, 2013. For tickets and more information, please see our Now Onstage listing or visit the theater’s website. Please note that the theater recommends the show for ages 12 and older.
– Kenny Norton