In addition to being biting social commentary about the world we live in and the future we just might be facing if we don't change our ways, Urinetown is also a musical that's an homage to the musicals that have come before it, and the form itself. The book and score are filled with references to Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and Les Miserables, among others. Director Joshua Campbell and choreographer Erin Sheppard have brought out every one and perhaps even added a few, as well as setting a tone that's campy and broadly comedic. A tone that every one of the 11 actors (about as many as can realistically fit on a stage that's only 12 feet deep) commits to fully. If high camp, exaggerated gestures, and sight gags are not your thing, you might want to stay away. But if they are, you're sure to get a great two-hour laugh workout from this show.
|the cast of Urinetown (photo courtesy of DalekoArts)
|the cast of Urinetown (Daleko Arts)
Urinetown is a great musical, one of my favorites, with sharp social commentary, musical theater references, and just plain fun. DalekoArts is doing some wonderful things with it. I really enjoyed my trip to New Prague and look forward to more in the years to come, and to watching them grow and expand the theater community outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul. And while I'm not suggesting that people who live in Minneapolis should travel to New Prague to see theater (although it's certainly worth the effort if there's a show or cast that looks intriguing to you), it's definitely worth a visit if you live in the Southern suburbs. In fact, with the state of construction and traffic these days, New Prague might be easier to get to than Minneapolis. DalekoArts is a wonderful option for seeing great theater in a charming old historic downtown, with a beautiful drive through softly rolling hills and green fields. The moral of the story is - seek out theater in your own town or neighborhood, because theater is everywhere (and if anyone wants to start a theater company in the Northeast suburbs, I'll be your biggest fan and supporter!).
Urinetown is taking a break for Memorial Day weekend but will be back for two weekends in June. More information about this and upcoming shows can be found on their website.
*Plot summary borrowed from my post about Jungle Theater's 2013 production.