BWW Reviews: URINETOWN - Delightful, Humorous and Full of Heart
The Baytown Little Theater is currently in its 51st year of business and is still going strong. For their annual summer musical, they are presenting Mark Hollman’s and Greg Kotis’s quirky hit, URINETOWN. Under the direction of John Morales, this theatre company lives up to their reputation of being the home of the professional amateurs, pulling together a fun, irreverent performance that hooks the audience and keeps them enthralled to the end.
John Morales’s direction ensures that each wit filled line of URINETOWN lands perfectly on the audience, highlighting the satire and inducing everything from snickers to hearty laughs. While not a typical musical, as it constantly makes fun of the format of the genre, John Morales and his cast capture and profoundly share the heart behind Mark Hollman’s and Greg Kotis’s show.
Ty Duke, making his Baytown Little Theater debut, is impressive as Bobby Strong. His rendition of “Run, Freedom, Run” is just as charming as it is hilarious. Ty Duke utilizes great comedic timing and a touch of awkwardness that really brings his Bobby Strong to life, easily earning a spot in the heart of the audience. Throughout the entire performance, Ty Duke’s vocals and dancing delight as well.
As the ever-naïve Hope Caldwell, April Gentry is also making her Baytown Little Theatre debut. April Gentry perfectly portrays Hope’s rose-colored viewed of the world, causing the audience to cringe and laugh as she spouts off her idealistic lines. April Gentry shines throughout the show, but her “Follow Your Heart” is easily one the show’s best moments.
Courtney Howard delivers powerhouse vocals and a heart felt performance as Penelope Pennywise. Courtney Howard adroitly delivers Penelope Pennywise’s secret to the audience in the second act, pulling on their heartstrings while making them laugh as the writing uses it to skewer the conventional harlot with a heart of gold plotline.
John Meiners Jr. is irascible as the exploitive miser Caldwell B. Caldwell. John Meiners Jr. is wonderful as the villain you just can't help but love to hate. McQueen as portrayed by Jim Wadzinski and Senator as Fipp portrayed by Claude Cook are perfect in their roles as henchmen in Caldwell B. Caldwell’s schemes. The trio is perfectly cast as the show’s villains and has just as much fun being antagonists as the audience does watching them, especially in the uproarious “Don’t Be The Bunny.”
Ryan Martin as Officer Lockstock is pristine. Ryan Martin has great control of his face, and utilizes this skill to fantastic comedic effect. As both a narrator and a character in the plot, Ryan Martin is consistently enjoyable and provides some of the evenings best moments through his commentary on the musical genre. Opposite Ryan Martin is Mica Box as Little Sally and Xander Tramel as Officer Barrel, both making their Baytown Little Theatre debuts. Mica Box and Xander Tramel are superb in their respective roles, keeping the audience on their toes waiting for their continued contributions to the laugh inducing material.
Travers La Ville, Jessica Cianciotto, Pattie Meiners, Joanna Mitchell, Adolfo Ramos, Erik Olmos Tristan, and Tyler Johnson round out the cast and each add unique and enchanting elements to the show. Like their cast mates, they completely commit to creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for the audience.
Costuming, wigs, and hair by Samuel Estrada, Megan Thomas, and John Morales for the show are fantastic and perfectly capture depression era fashions. John Morales set design is wonderfully sparse and evocative of different locales. Moreover, it utilizes the performance space well.
URINETOWN at the Baytown Little Theater is a unique experience that is full of charm and humor. Every aspect of the production is well-rehearsed and professionally finessed, creating a spectacular evening of theater and ultimately proving that not all community theaters are created equal. Some, such as Baytown Little Theater, are simply a cut above the rest. URINETOWN is sure to delight, even if it doesn’t have the most enticing title.
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