Sunday, April 17, 2011

Urinetown the Musical Comes to CT Rep at Storrs

Remember that red haired, freckle faced pixie who captured your heart singing about a sun shiny tomorrow?  Well, Annie is all grown up and Andrea McArdle is ready to wow you once again as Penelope Pennywise in "Urinetown: The Musical” flowing freely into the Jorgensen Auditorium on the campus of the University of Connecticut until Saturday, April 30, courtesy of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.

Imagine a twenty year drought, where private bathrooms are illegal and corporate greed is healthy and strong.  In order to pee, you have to pay for the privilege and, thus, Urinetown is born.

Andrea McArdle is a fierce Penelope, the  proud and strict proprietor presiding over Public Amenity #9 that serves the poorest of the poor.  When her assistant Bobby Strong (Ken Clark) stages a courageous revolt against the harsh laws that hit the destitute the hardest, he and his cohorts are forced to hide in the sewers.

Bobby’s father has been dragged off by the police, Officer Lockstock (Robert Thompson Jr), who doubles as the narrator, and his partner Officer Barrel (Kevin Coubal) and Bobby is seeking revenge against the Urine Good Company that controls all the waterworks.

UGC’s head honcho is Caldwell B. Cladwell (Bob Walton) who feels he must maintain strict water conservation rules, as long as his pockets are lined with green.  He brings the house down with his hysterical song “Don’t Be the Bunny” as he tries to convince his idealistic daughter Hope (Alison Barton) that his work is noble.

Playwright Greg Kotis conceived the unusual theme for the show while traveling as a college student on a budget across Europe and facing the obstacle of pay-toilets.  With musician Mark Hollmann, they tackled topics such as city politics, corporate greed and the environmental need to conserve resources.  With tongue-in-cheek, they openly satirized the Broadway musical in general and “Les Miserables” in particular.

Narrator Officer Lockstock warns the precocious urchin Little Sally (Alexandra Perlwitz) that this is not a happy musical, but it still vibrates with wild and wonderful choreography by Gerry McIntrye and great songs like “Follow Your Heart,” “Look at the Sky,” “Run, Freedom, Run” and “I See a River.”  Paul Mullins directs an inspired cast, dedicated to the principle that “It’s a Privilege to Pee.”

For tickets ($6-$35), call the CT Repertory Theatre at 860-486-4226 or online at  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., April 27 and 28, Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Have fun paying coins and homage to the throne, porcelain pot, clapper, urinal and seat of honor known as the toilet.

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