Theatre 29 Stages “Urinetown” The Musical

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Theatre 29, has long been the hi-desert’s home for family value musicals, comedies, and dramas. Over the years, the community theatre has ventured into a tad bit stronger theatrical fare, but always comes back home to its core family values roots.

The current offering “Urinetown”, the musical, written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, may be an odd sounding title, but the popular musical ran for three years both on and off Broadway; nabbing three Tony Awards in the process.

DSTARweekly March 18 2015 Final PrintIn the Theatre 29 production ably directed by Gary Daigneault, the cast of eighteen enthusiastic performers give it their all in bringing to life this satirical comedy musical that pokes fun at just about everything. How about the following subjects for starters: our legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate management, and municipal politics (did I miss a category?). In other words one might say the story by Hollmann and Kotis has been ripped from today’s headlines, Cable TV and Network TV. What is it that Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra used to say? “It’s déjà vu all over again”.

The simplistic story, such as it is, is set in the future where a 20-year drought has forced the government to take draconian measures in water conservation and its distribution, even going so far as to ban the use of private toilets. In the mythical city of Urinetown, only privately owned Public Amenity facilities are legal and available – but for a price. Thus a “pee fee” is a way of life for the poor and downtrodden of Urinetown. However, one young hero, has had enough and foments a rebellion against the greedy water company; leading to a citizens for freedom revolt.

Actors love stories and plays like “Urinetown” because its cartoon-like characters gives them the opportunity to go over-the-top in performance. Leading the good people’s side is energetic and earnest Chris Fleischman as Bobby Strong, along with Trevor Carpenter, Cindy Daigneault, James Hodgson, Chalise Kunz, Emmi Partridge, Mike Shaw, Maddie Tuttle, and Amanda Winters.

On the dark side, resisting the townspeople’s demands are: Barry Inscore as Caldwell B. Cladwell, Rebecca Havely as the strong-singing, hard-nosed company payment collector Penelope Penneywise Katie Vansumeren as a conflicted Hope Cladwell who is sweet on Bobby Strong; Cathy Inscore, and Liyan Lagevardi. Dennis “Easy” Boos, the play’s sly Narrator(with nice timing)and Officer Lockstock, and his sidekick partner Cindy Ross as Officer Barrel, complete the company of players, all of whom, appear to be having a wonderful time on stage. When they’re happy entertaining the audience, the audience enjoys the show even more. It may not have been what Theatre 29 audiences were expecting to see, but they applauded enthusiastically in all the right places.

Director Daigneault leads the creative team consisting of long time Music Director Ed Will who also plays the keyboards in the show. Mandi Pushkar is the Choreographer. Costumer Designers Cindy Daigneault and Marty Neider have the appropriate grunge look for the townies, and the right look for the Corporate/Company folks. Ken Palmer designs the lights, and Justin Brakebill is the Technical Director.

“Urinetown, The Musical” performs at Theatre 29 and runs through March 25th. For reservations and ticket information call the Box Office at 760-361-4151.

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