BWW Reviews: 'Dinner and a Show'- Eagle Theater's URINETOWN and Rocco's Townhouse, Hammonton, NJ
We decided to grab a great dinner before the show and picked Rocco's Townhouse; local favorite of the Eagle's cast as well a most of the town.
Years ago Hammonton New Jersey's townspeople would meet in taverns, a precursor to a Town Hall, to discuss and debate the issues of the day. No doubt public restrooms were at the bottom of the list in this farmland rich community, where a shady tree served as a place to "relieve yourself" from a hard day's work... or whatever else needed to be relieved!
In 1949 this tavern opened as The Town House and has continued to provide the people of this town a place to gather, to eat, to drink and still discuss the important issues of the day.
Rocco's Town House is a spacious rustic room filled with lots of Hammonton locals enjoying a relaxed lively atmosphere with a huge bar area and dining area, a large offside private dinning room and a menu to suit everyone. From their Mussel Pots appetizers, to salads, sandwiches, 11 varieties of pasta dishes and 10 customized steak & seafood dishes, no one walks away hungry.
Managers/cooks and brothers, Steve & Dave Ruberton serve up generous portions of homemade food and personal tableside attention to all. I was treated to a house specialty salad with oranges and poppy seed dressing, the crusted tuna dinner special- 8oz. of amazingly tender sesame crusted & pan seared tuna steaks, served w/chili slaw, soy grain mustard vinaigrette, over wasabi potato pancakes. My dinner guest enjoyed truly "homemade" ravioli and meatballs and we both enjoyed chatting with the brothers and the local servers.
Rocco's Town House is located at 21 N. 3rd St. Hammonton, NJ for more information visit www.roccostownhouse.com or call 609.561.9384
Just a few blocks away we arrive on Vine Street, home of the Eagle Theater and their production of Urinetown.
"Yes, but who's gonna come to a show a called "Urinetown?" says Little Sally (Samatha Marrone) to Officer Lockstock (John Jackowski), two of the principals in this wacky musical comedy. Well, they came! From 2001- 04 they came to Broadway to see this unexpected phenomenon landing Urinetown 9 Tony nominations in 2002 and winning 4 top awards for Best Musical, book, score and direction.
Somewhere, beneath a God-awful title and productions that steals spoofs and take off's from Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story and more, comes a show that is ditsy, clever, entertaining and filled with shtick and belly laughs. The unlikely idea came from co-writer Greg Kotis's real- life travel experience of "Europe on a shoestring" budget where he had to "pay to pee".
Eagle's Artistic Director Ed Corsi cleverly captures all of the "in your face" and "tongue in cheek" humor and choreographer Justina Erecole puts together some of the wackiest well executed dance moves to compliment each and every unpredictable scene.
A city whose water supply is desperately grave and pay-toilets are everywhere is taken over by a greedy corporation UGC, Urine Good Company, terrible pun, but this show is full of them. Mishandling the city is UGC's corrupt CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell (Paul Wegraff) controlling the public amenities that are manned by a toll troll matron, Penelope Pennywise (Molly Tower).There's a line up of Les Miz leftovers of poor city folk waiting to gather their pennies for the "privilege to pee", which happens to be the title of one of the show's songs. Those who can't "hold out" soon find themselves exiled to the dreaded and mysterious state of Urinetown, from which no one returns.
Cladwell's daughter, Hope (Megan Pisors) returns from college clueless as to what daddy's been up to. Hope finds her way to town and wins the heart of young Bobby Strong (Tim Rinehart), who leads a popular revolt against Cladwell's latest toilet tax increase.
Things pretty much go downhill from here. But this doesn't keep this crazy bunch of cuckoos from singing and dancing their way to freedom.
The music serves up a mix of Jazz with "Snuff That Girl", gospel, with "Run Freedom Run" "I See a River" and even throws in a love duet "Follow Your Heart". While the score is pretty much forgettable, the music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, with book and lyrics by Greg Kotis is some of the most delightful nonsense you'll ever get caught up in.