“It’s a privilege to pee!”
At least it is in Urinetown, the comedic, satirical musical written by Greg Kotis and musically composed by Mark Hollman and performed by Belmont’s musical theater program in MPAC. The opening night was November 19.
Officer Lockstock is the narrator and comedic relief throughout the show. Urinetown is about a pay-as-you-go public restroom. Because there has been a 20 year water shortage, citizens have to limit their flow, highly taxed to relieve themselves. There are laws against going behind the bushes or on the sidewalks. The rich owner, Caldwell B. Caldwell, of Urine Good Company (UGC) hikes up the tax once again.
Enter the dashing Bobby Strong. He works for Penelope Pennywise, a sour woman who is stuck between the corporate and everyman world. She enforces the pee tax because the public amenity #9 is her livelihood. She enforces the taxes much to the chagrin of the citizens.
Strong’s father gets arrested for peeing on the sidewalk because he can’t afford the high tax. Strong decides to lead a revolution, leading the people to fight and secure their right to pee—for free. Along the way, he meets Caldwell’s daughter, Hope, who teaches Strong to follow his heart. They’re attraction is instantaneous. During the revolution, Strong takes Hope hostage, taking the rebels to the sewers.
Pennywise chooses to work for the corporate world and tells Caldwell about Strong. Caldwell seizes the opportunity to deal with Strong most severely by asking him to come to his office and discuss a possible cash compromise. As Strong arrives, he is seized and taken to Urinetown, getting pushed off a building.
Hope then takes over the revolution after she tells Strong’s mother she loved him. Hope and the rebels take over UGC. Unfortunately, because of their irresponsible freedom, the water dries up and Hope is killed by the rebels for leading them to their foolish demise.
While Urinetown is a comedy, it deals with some important issues: capitalism, corporate corruption, and social irresponsibility. It shows life is unsustainable; resources must be handled delicately in order to preserve them.
The entire Belmont cast did a fantastic job on opening night. The dances were strong and on point. The songs were beautifully sung and everyone was flawless with their deliverance of lines. Ben Laxton, Bobby Strong, was a big star in the show. A junior musical theater major, Laxton took the audience by surprise with his powerful voice in “Run, Freedom Run”. Chills may just creep up your arms as he controls his voice and hits the high notes.
Maggie McDowell, who plays Hope Caldwell, was a joy to see on stage and had a powerhouse of a voice. She owned her part and gave a strong performance.
Michael Rosenbaum, as Officer Lockstock, along with Brittany Church as Little Sally, was absolutely fabulous. They were so funny and played off each other’s humor.
Urinetown is free to the public and runs through November 22.
It’s so funny you may just pee your pants.