Photo credit: Brynn Baker
Written by Toni Shindler-Ruberg and Jane White
These past two weeks, the Performing Arts Center echoed with brass instruments and people yelling “Urine!” at the top of their lungs. M-A Drama just wrapped up their fall musical, Urinetown. When the lights rose, a rag-tag group of students transformed into a cohesive cast of bathroom-deprived individuals.
The musical featured many talented actors and singers who performed effortlessly. Leads included seniors Milo Brosamer as Bobby Strong and Matthew Roisen as Officer Lockstock, sophomores Rohan Sharma as Caldwell Cladwell and Ria Cuellar-Koh as Pennywise, and freshmen Ryan Barnes as Hope Cladwell and Margaret Donald as Little Sally.
Throughout the show, Roisen’s no-nonsense but likable acting and slow motion ballet moves landed him in the audience’s favor. Andrea Fesas, Sophie Glinder, and Kim Jensen’s exaggerated facial expressions appealed to the audience, whether it was laughter or sadness. Ria Cuellar-Koh’s and Ryann Barnes’ singing voices were both strong and beautiful.
The ensemble featured a strong, well-rounded group of members. Rousing numbers such as “Urinetown,” “It’s a Privilege to Pee,” and “Snuff that Girl” featured many members of the cast and represented the energetic and spunky aspects of the musical while introducing or continuing important thematic elements.
Before Urinetown opened to the general public, cast and crew underwent a rigorous but enjoyable rehearsal process. M-A Drama teacher Danette Bauthauer appreciated the show’s opportunities for creative flexibility. “There was a lot of different creative input from everyone, so we had a lot of people contributing dance moves, gestures, and comedy bits,” she said.
Kayli Smith, junior and member of the Poor Ensemble, said, “My favorite memory from the show was doing partner [acrobatics]. Everyone in the poor ensemble got to learn different kinds of acro, which was a really cool experience.”
Reactions to the show were overwhelmingly positive, suggesting that this year’s show was definitely a crowd pleaser. Sophomore Miles Vieri commented that it was “a great production and hilarious in general.”
The show also attracted the attention of parents and students from other schools. Anna Toxvig, a member of the theatre community at Gunn High School, commented “The production was beautiful, from the set, to the lighting, to the band performing alongside the actors. It was an all around professional and fun experience. Also, I was really entertained by Kim Jensen’s acting. I thought she and the entire cast were absolutely amazing.”
Members of the cast and production crews felt as if the production was very successful. Brosamer described his last musical with M-A drama as “Surreal, exciting and interesting, but also sad.”
Smith commented, “The show was super funny and a good time. A lot of people thought it was going to just be about pee, but it’s really not. It’s really about much more than that. It’s about love and friendship.”
M-A Drama’s production of Urinetown highlighted corruption and ruthless capitalism through the high-energy, likable presence of hardworking M-A students. In the words of Bauthauer, “The show was open for anyone to express themselves. There were really no challenges in bringing the musical together, and this show has been everything I could want from any show.”