(NaBloPoMo, Nov. 24, 2013)

Concordia College of Moorhead Does a Flush Job on URINETOWN

Wilma and I drove up to Moorhead yesterday to see the Concordia College theatre department’s production of “Urinetown”… and by golly, what a fun show!

Yes, it has a weird, unsavory title.  Yes, it makes you wonder – a musical?  About … THAT?  And what’s even more fun, the show itself makes fun of its own title.  It is that absurd, and that interesting.

The story Is this:  there is a worldwide drought, and all the water supply is tied up.  There are no private toilets any more – in fact, you have to go to a public facility (called an “amenity” in the show) in order to relieve yourself… and guess what?  Yes, you have to pay to go…. And the money goes to none other than that fine corporation URINE GOOD HANDS, run by an unscrupulous president – Caldwell Cladwell.

He and his minions run the business smoothly – that is, until those folks down at Amenity No. 9 decide to revolt – and that revolt threatens even further revolts at other amenities.  As the play unfolds, the two factions bargain and deal until a solution is reached – and they find that the solution may be no better than the original problem.

So now put that all to music – and kudos to a very good pit orchestra …er… platform orchestra.  The small combo found themselves on stage for the whole show, costumed cleverly and accompanying the music and crisply.  The songs – so clever, so witty.  Good work to Melissa, Ryan, Alex, Dan, Grant, Tom and Erik, all directed by Jeff Meyer.

The actors had to create a range of personalities to the childish and hopeful Little Sally (Rachel Honz), to brash Narrator/Cop Lockstock (Mitchel Peery), the firm and strong Penelope Pennywise (Tiffany Sieu) – and it was so very good to see every single character- from the leads to the ‘ensemble’ members, develop a character of their own.  Such characterizations gave the show a strong presence.

And then, do the music and the acting on a set?  Well … floor, platform, stairs, ramps, combo platform, another level.. and then a level above that… all solidly designed and built by technical director and whiz Steven Johnson… pardon my pride, but he’s my son… so yes, of course, great work on sound, lights and costumes, too .. .even though those in charge of those elements are no relatives of mine whatsoever.

Congratulations, Concordia College of Moorhead/Theatre Department’s production of URINETOWN.