“Urinetown” is a must pee

Valley College will present a comedic musical about being free to pee this March.

By Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Gabriel Arizon/The Valley Star

The Valley College Theater Department travels to a dystopian society where a city’s poorest and wealthiest citizens clash over a person’s right to pee.

Written by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman, “Urinetown” is a meta, dark comedy musical where, due to an extreme water shortage, every person must pay a tax to use the bathroom. While those in power profit immensely from the fee, the poor must scrounge daily for spare change and wait in incredibly long lines. Those that refuse to pay the tax are taken to the mysterious Urinetown as punishment, never to be seen again. After one young man is inspired to take action, he rallies the poor and motivates them to fight for freedom.

The musical is directed and choreographed by Professor Cathy Susan Pyles, while the music is directed by Professor Patricia Hannifan. The musical stars 28 cast members, including: Joshua Lea, Jessica Soderquist, Bedjou Jean, Chevy Knight, Danielle Christine Miller, Enver Messano, Ross Bauer, Orion Bahena and Iyanla Alexis. The designs are by the Theater Department Chairperson Jennifer Read and staff member Mark Svastics.

For Pyles, choosing to adapt this play was a no-brainer, partly due to its contemporary theme of corporate greed, but also because it is very character driven.

“Every part in this play is kind of quirky,” Pyles said, “and when I saw the people that I had in my class last fall, I thought, ‘I have a lot of quirky people in this class.’ So I picked it because it had room for a lot of character work.”

The cast has been in rehearsal since before the spring semester began. In the first two weeks, cast members spent three hours every weekday learning just the harmony and the songs. According to Pyles, many of the cast members are novices, so for some this will not only be their first musical, but their first play.

Knight, who is one such newcomer, plays Penelope Pennywise, an authority figure who oversees one of the public bathrooms where the story takes place. Despite this being her first play, Knight has been enthusiastic about the experience.

“I’m obsessed with every single person that is in this production,” Knight said. “It’s really cool being surrounded by a bunch of different creative people of all ages and backgrounds. I’m just having a blast to be here.”

Soderquist plays Hope Cladwell, the young daughter of the main antagonist and the love interest of the male lead. She has been involved in three previous productions.

“It’s my first time doing a musical and it’s really hard,” Soderquist said. “There’s a lot that goes into it, but ultimately you meet really good people and you just have a lot of fun.”

“Urinetown” opens March 27 and will run on March 28 and April 2 - 4. Each showing will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Horseshoe Theater, with an online ticket price of $20 and $25 at the door. To order tickets online, go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4535041.