‘Urinetown’ debuts at Park City High School
November 9, 2010
The Tony Award-winning "Urinetown: the Musical" is the perfect music to be produced and performed by high school students, said Park City High School drama teacher Mikell Price.
"It’s fantastic because it is such a parody of every other musical they have probably ever seen," Price said during an interview with The Park Record just before rehearsals. "It’s so sarcastic and actually makes fun of the convention of musical theatre to begin with."
Price, new to the PCHS staff this year, said the musical, which made its Broadway premiere in 2001, is also one of her personal favorites.
"When I came into the job, I wasn’t sure if a show had been picked," said Price, who graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Theatre Arts. "I heard they wanted to do ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ and if they wanted to, I would have, but (the school) left it up to me, and I had a good half-hour to go browse and think about what I wanted to do.
"In a perfect world, ‘Urinetown’ would be the one I wanted to do and when I asked, they said yes," Price said. "So, it’s a perfect world at least here and now."
Another thing that helped Price choose the musical was the students’ talent.
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"When I was informed about the type of talent and number of boys and girls, it seemed like the musical would be a pretty good fit," Price said. "And not knowing the students, I knew as long as we had general talented actors, we’d be able to pull it off."
"Urinetown," which surrounds a boy named Bobby Strong and his heartthrob Hope Caldwell, takes place in a city suffering from a water shortage, said Price. The need for water is so dire the characters have to pay to use the restrooms, which are guarded and run by a powerful corporation called "Urine Good Company."
The cast includes Bobby Strong, the lead romantic role, who is a revolutionary and tries to lead the town in an uprising against "Urine Good Company, said Price. "And there is Hope Caldwell, the daughter of the company’s owner. She and Bobby fall in love at first sight. She has a pure heart and isn’t particularly familiar with the ways of the world."
Then there are the two narrators, who always seem to endear themselves to the audience, Price said.
"Officer Lockstock is a stupid cop who upholds the corporation’s stupid laws," she said. "He is very corrupt and dirty minded.
"It’s funny because the guy who plays him is a great guy and it’s funny to see him try to play a creep."
The other narrator is a precocious 7-year-old named Sally Little, Price said.
"She’s a street urchin who follows Lockstock and basically contradicts his every move," she said. "Needless to say they have this charming, love/hate relationship that appeals to the audience."
"Urinetown" will be presented in the Park City High School Black Box Theatre, instead of the Eccles Center, Price said.
"I chose to do it in that space because I want the kids, in some point in their life, to play to a full house," Price explained. "There is no way we can fill the Eccles Center. And there’s a different feeling in a show when the house is packed.
"I wanted the kids to feel that experience. And as a first-year teacher I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. I figured doing it in a smaller space would help me feel like it was a little more manageable.
Price liked the logistics of rehearsing in the performance space, rather than having to move rehearsals to another studio.
"Sometimes moving to the performance space from a rehearsal space is a mess," she said. "You have to re-choreograph things and it takes so much time to get it all together again. Here we didn’t have to deal with that."
Park City High School Drama Department will present "Urinetown: the Musical," Thursday, Nov. 11, through Saturday, Nov. 20, in the PCHS Black Box Theatre,1750 Kearns Blvd. Showtimes are 7 p.m., with additional Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and children and are available by calling 435-645-5650