Urinetown (or is it You’re In Town?) The Musical!
This musical production put on by the theater and music departments of Tennessee Wesleyan made a big splash among students and residents of Athens, Tennessee alike. Directing the production and also performing in the musical was Dr. Hill, TWC’s head of the Theater Program. The show featured a live ensemble led by Dr. Bahnean, TWC’s Director of Choral Activities, which consisted of a quartet (Nate Patterson, bass; Tristan Rowland, piano; Katie Heatherly, trombone; and Trevor Laymance, drums).
The stage was beautifully made, well thought-out, and comical. Helping with the artwork presented onstage was local artist and TWC student Jordan Hart who crafted the graffiti on the brick wall backdrop (which was made by Julia Fioravanti, who also was part of the musical). The musical numbers along with the live ensemble brought the meta-physical musical to life. The music and choreography was very over-the-top just like a musical should be.
Act I started with an introduction from the entire cast of the performance proclaiming that “You’re in Urinetown!” including the audience in their production (yes, very meta!). The story of a shanty-town struggling to thrive during a draught so in order to preserve water, the CEO of Urine Good Company (played by Christopher Livingston) declares all public amenities have a toll for the poor, low-class citizens to pay. The CEO’s daughter (played by Aislin Kate Anderson) comes back and—as one might guess—falls in the love with the hero (played by Tyler Peaden). The band of low-lives kidnaps the CEO’s daughter and holds her hostage until the CEO lifts the toll for the restrooms.
Act II begins with an explosion of music and song, moving very quickly. The actors and musicians were able to keep the energy going with the second act in which the hero and CEO perish, leaving the daughter to lead the citizens. Lifting the toll for restrooms, the town quickly uses up all the water, leaving the audience wondering what the purpose of the plot was. A quick aside from the narrator (played by Michael Granier) and the wide-eyed girl (played by Julia Fioravanti) reveals the sentiment of the musical: people don’t want to hear that their way of life is unsustainable and bound to cause destruction. While the audience fights for the hero and his love, they both have ill fates and voila! The audience finally realizes the production is actually a cautionary musical that comments on our way of life and frivolous use of resources cannot sustain life on earth indefinitely.
While laughing—the musical was very much a comedy—theater-goers are given a piece of wisdom as well. The production was a wonderful experience and the overall response from audience members was very positive. Urinetown will be playing Thusday 4/23 at 11:00AM and also Friday 4/24 and Saturday 4/25 at 7:30PM.