BWW Review: URINETOWN, THE MUSICAL at Boise State Theater Arts
URINETOWN, the Musical began at a New York Fringe festival and made it to Broadway in 2002, winning Tony Awards for best musical direction, book and best score. Other than its 3 familiar songs (I use "familiar' loosely as they would only be so to theater geeks like me) I am amazed that companies are still producing this show as it is a hard piece to get right.
In the "hopefully never future", drought has led to catastrophic water shortage and private toilets have been banned from use. All citizens must pay to use public amenities ran by Urine Good Company (U.G.C.) This is the story about Caldwell B Cladwell (Brian Telestai, who was a great villain) the CEO of UGC and his daughter Hope (Sarah Worthington). Hope returns from college in hopes to one day run her father's business but meets Bobby Strong (Joel Hroma) and falls in love. This romance and Bobby's passion for free peeing, opens Hope's eyes to her father's wickedness and she joins the revolution. The entire story is narrated by Officer Lockstock (brilliantly portrayed by Tristan Fishman).
URINETOWN is funny. Full of energy, cast interaction, great moments for side jokes to the audience, and playfulness. It takes a certain mindset to appreciate a show like URINETOWN and it takes a certain energy from the cast to bring us into this type of story. Unfortunately, this production lacked all of that. As a fan of this musical, I almost left at intermission.
The singing was fine (very fine from Hroma and Fishman) the acting was fine (bravo to the revolution group and Telestai) and the costuming was smart (loved the UGC in purple opposed to the rest in drab brown). It just lacked refinement. It lacked connection to the audience and one another.
I can't put my finger on what was wrong. Maybe I didn't like the directing. Maybe there was a lack of time to get choreography down (the big dance number Run Freedom Run is the best song in the show but only because of Hroma's voice). Maybe I was hoping for an experience like I have had in the past with this show. Whatever is was, I will not give up on the Boise State Theater Arts Department. There is a lot of talent in that group, it just wasn't the right musical to show it off. To take a turn on the words of Officer Lockstock: "Not every production can be a happy one."