Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Urinetown"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Larry Stark


"Urinetown"

Music & Lyrics by Mark Hollman
Book & Lyrics by Greg Kotis

Directed by Bill Doscher
Musical Direction by Markus Hauck
Choreographed by Matthew Kossack

Set Design by Chris Carda, Sarah Roth
Producer Cynde Hartman
Assistant Producer Sandi McDonald
Costume Design by The Cast, Cynde Hartman, Stacy Andler, Judy Maggs
Lighting Design by John Fitzpatrick
Makeup Design by Michael Frazee
Properties Design by Cynde Hartman, Judy Maggs, Greg Paul, Leeta White
Assistant Stage Manager Leeta White
Stage Manager Victoria Taylor

Little Sally.....Michelle Estrada
Hope..............Kristin Boucher
Bobby...............Michael Letch
Pennywise.......Jennifer Bubriski
Lockstock...............Brian Ott
Barrel..................Eric Pell
Cladwell........Steven Littlehale
Becky............Danielle Naugler
Hot Blades Harry...M. Zach Bubolo
Fipp...................Joel Hersh
Josephine Strong...Maria Wardwell
Ms. McQueen...........Cathy Merlo
Mrs. Millennium.....Cynde Hartman
Old Man Strong.....Michael Zimmer
Tiny Tom...............Judy Maggs
Soupy Sue........Kathryn Dumoulin
Sam...............William Starner
Robby Stockfish........Paige Good
Boxcar Brandy..........Dayna Pell
Dr. Billeaux.........Michael Roth
Fredrick Steinworth....Skylar Fox
C.C. ................Margie Pell
Billy Boy Bill...John Weinberger

ORCHESTRA
Keyboard......Markus Hauck
Woodwinds...Mark Margolies
Trombone........Robynn Amy
Bass...........Jon Wilkins
Percussion......Zack Hardy
Conducted by Markus Hauck

"Urinetown" is a park-the-brain-at-the-door romp that outgrew its off-Broadway origins and is apparently sweeping the country (Vokes Players will open their version tomorrow; Newton South High School will wait till next May.) And why not? What actor, community or Equity, wouldn't love to send-up seventeen or so major modern musicals in a self-referential show wherein you could play someone called Boxcar Brandy, Mrs. Millennium, Soupy Sue, Robby Stockfish, or Billy Boy Bill? This is the sort of show wherein Little Sally can ask Police Sargent Lockstock [His companion is Officer Barrel!] why something happens and he can answer "Because this is a Musical, Little Sally! It's just not a Happy musical." No, it ain't really a Happy musical, but Jesus-God ain't it fun!

Aside from the Creative Team (Director Bill Doscher, Choreographer Matthew Kossack, and Music Director Markus Hauck) all of whom do outstanding work here, the production is dominated by four outstanding performances:

First there is the precocious Little Sally, with her ragged-rabbit dolly, who punctuates both pomposities and the fourth wall with her comments and questions. Half-pint-sized Michelle Estrada plays her as the soul of over-intelligent innocence. (Eat you heart out, Annie Warbucks!)

But out-innocenting her is Kristin Boucher, the lily-white daughter of the evil businessman (Steven Littlehale) continually raising the price people must pay to pee. Until she joins the Revolution and changes key, she is radiantly, empty-headedly delightful.

And Michael Letch plays the instigator and leader of that revolution, proving in a clear and powerful voice that being the hero in a pseudo-Brecht not-Happy musical is not always the best idea.

But the fourth stand-out performance here is by The Entire Cast!
Every one of them has a name (Tiny Tom, Hot Blades Harry) and every one of them gets a snapper-solo line somewhere in the script --- but All of them as chorus get snappy unison-bits all the more surprising. And their dancing send-ups of everyone's favorite warhorses is icing on this delicious cake.

This is such a performer-friendly show I expect to learn by next year that some snoty pre-school in the suburbs will announce their own production with a special audition-call for any Equity-member newborn willing to play Little Sally. (Resumees & headshots only.)

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

"Urinetown" (20 October - 4 November)
NEWTON COUNTRY PLAYERS
MassBay Community College, WELLESLEY HILLS MA
1 (617)244-9538


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