Urinetown: The Musical
Wows Westridge Community
Photos of Urinetown: The Musical
Westridge Theatre Department
By Sophia K.
April 23, 2019
"It’s the oldest story. Masses are oppressed; faces, clothes, and bladders are distressed. Rich folks get the good life, poor folks get the woe. In the end, it’s nothing you don’t know."
- Urinetown: The Musical
Although infused with, to quote the show’s assistant director, Gracie B., ’20, “a plethora of cringey toilet puns,” Urinetown: The Musical tells a serious story about a revolution against a dystopian corporation, UGC (Urine Good Company). UGC regulates water consumption by forcing citizens to pay to pee. The story highlights corporate greed, class barriers, and the deadly effect of dwindling natural resources. Challenging the audience’s understanding of good and evil, governmental corruption, and the power of love, Urinetown adeptly combines wild musical numbers, humor, and real-life application to create a compelling story.
The show is only as good as the actors though, and Urinetown’s cast did not fall short. The two narrators, Little Sally and Officer Lockstock, played by Mia B., ’19, and Oona L., ’19 respectively, ground the show in hilarity and joy despite the dark subject matter. By repeatedly breaking the fourth wall, this duo kept the audience not only engaged, but in stitches.
Urinetown’s heroes, Hope Cladwell, played by Amy S., ’19, and Bobby Strong, played by Jamie G., ’20, owned the stage with their dystopian Romeo and Juliet (or West Side Story) style love story and quasi-communist revolution. Amy and Jamie’s differing portrayal of the traditional hero – Bobby is naïve but woke while Hope has a definite dark side – challenges the trope that heroes are wholly positive forces.
Caldwell B. Cladwell, portrayed by Julia S., ’20; Penelope Pennywise, played by Jenna H, ’20; and Officer Barrel, acted by Kat M., ’21, conversely redefine the traditional villain. Caldwell B. Caldwell, director of UGC and Hope’s father, is simultaneously a cruel dictator and a realist whose harsh water conservation tactics preserved natural resources. Penelope, the toll collector at a public bathroom, struggles with loyalty and the question: should she protect herself or aid the revolution? Officer Barrel, the closest to a true villain, grapples with love for his partner, Oona’s Officer Lockstock.
While these individual characters controlled the musical’s progression, it was the ensemble that made Urinetown a true success. This thirteen-person team seamlessly sang, danced, and acted their way through the entire show, bringing to life a story that emphasizes the role of the common man. Portraying everyone from a hot-headed revolutionary to a UGC scientist, the ensemble strengthened every aspect of the Urinetown production.
The musical’s triumph was not just contingent upon the actors, but also the might of the leadership, light, sound, and scenery teams. Each team helped put a Westridge spin on the Urinetown production, whether through assistant director Gracie B.’s, ’20, organization of the cast, or the light team’s setting of a dark tone through grey lighting.
The Urinetown cast’s theatrical talent and plot’s subject matter wholly engaged the audience, who describe the musical as of the highest caliber. As stated by Rachel H., ’19, who attended two out of three of the productions, “I have never enjoyed a production as much as I enjoyed [Urinetown]. … There was not a single weak link.”