Monday, November 18, 2019
Gee Whiz! Students Present ‘Urinetown’
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Rye Fruehling portrays the villain as the greedy owner of Urine Good Company.
 
Friday, November 8, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

The key to happiness? Peeing for free.

That’s the premise behind “Urinetown: The Musical,” being staged tonight and Saturday at the Sun Valley Community School Theatre.

The two-hour play revolves round a dystopian society where a 20-year drought has caused a terrible shortage. To control water consumption, people must pay to pee in public toilets controlled by a mega-corporation known as Urine Good Company.

 
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Jasper Mott is confronted with the stirrings of a rebellion.
 

Pee outside one of the public toilets and you’re banished to a penal colony called Urinetown, never to return. As a result, townspeople have even taken to taking baths in coffee cups.

“It’s a privilege to pee. I run the only toilet in this part of town, you see. So, if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go through me,” sings the toilet-meister at Public Amenity No. 9.

Trouble erupts when Old Man Strong can’t afford his pee fee for the day. The aftermath prompts Old Man Strong’s son to take on the Urine Good Company, even as he falls in love with the daughter of the man who has turned flushing into meaning “flush at the bank.”

He and Hope begin yearning for a brave new world where people can be happy and pee for free. And a  pee-for-free rebellion erupts as Urine Good Company starts charging higher and higher fees.

 
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Ethan Hunt plays the Gestapo-like Officer Lockstop.
 

Sun Valley Community School’s Upper School will present the satirical musical at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9, at the Sun Valley Community School Theater.

Tickets are $10 for students and $17 for adults, available at www.communityschool.org/news/events and at the door.

The musical takes full advantage of potty puns, with ditties like “It’s a Privilege to Pee.” One song lampoons “Fiddler on the Roof” while another lampoons love songs as the romantic lead tries to teach the hero how to listen to his heart.

The musical lampoons the legal system, capitalism and social irresponsibility. The musical also is a cautionary tale, given talk of what water shortages in California and elsewhere could mean, noted Director Kevin Wade, Sun Valley Community School’s Upper School theater teacher.

 
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The trouble starts when Old Man Strong is hauled off to Urinetown for ignoring the fee for pee laws.
 

“We hope audiences will both fall out of their seats laughing while also feeling a sense of renewed urgency about caring for our planet,” he added.

Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann’s musical was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2002, winning three. It also won three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards.

The musical, under the direction of Upper School theater director Kevin Wade, features 40 students on stage and behind the scenes and a mini-orchestra—with brass--led by John Mauldin.

It stars Jasper Mott as the young rebel rouser Bobby Strong and Laine Allison as Hope Caldwell, the young woman he falls in love with. Ethan Hunt plays Officer Lockstock; Rye Fruehlig, the owner of Urine Good Company; Julia Ott, Penelope Pennywise, and Sophie Harder, Little Sally.

 
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Laine Allison listens to Jasper Mott’s heart and the process of teaching him how to listen to and follow his heart.
 

Others are Paola Alvarado, Etienne Blumberg, Zealy Bourgault, Shea Brokaw, Frances Cherp, Niki Cohen, Camille Cookston, Charlie Coulter, Emma Desserault, Hadley Duke, Madeline Dunn, George Englehardt, Lue Gilbreath, Tallulah Gilbreath, Brady Giles, Imogen Harris, Paris Himmelman, Beatrice Kelly, Belle Maurtua, Lyla Maxwell, Priya Merchant, Lily Pogue, Ali Rathfon, Carter Sammis, Bridgette Silva, Sophia Sturgeon, Anika Vandenburgh and Ava Verhaeghe.

Megan Mahoney is the choreographer and Jamey Reynolds crafted the dark, foggy set design.

The tech and lighting crew features Gabe Delgado, Oliver Guy, Max Moss, Koa Mott, Tyler Salvonia and Serena Ericson, while Upper School student Eden Rose is handling makeup, hair and costume design.

 

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