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Arts and Entertainment

Drury University Theatre Performs Musical Satire

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(Logo design courtesy Drury University Theatre)
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Drury University Theatre presents the satirical musical "Urinetown" by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann November 13-16 in Wilhoit Theatre in Drury’s Breech building. The show satirizes, among other things, the legal system, capitalism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and even musical theater itself. Director Josh Inman confirmed that “it is a satire, though it does touch on a serious subject: what happens when power takes over and society loses control.  But it’s all told through really fun song and dance, and it’s everything you want in a musical! It’s great. It actually pays homage to other musicals—there are some hidden tidbits in there that are kind of fun.”                                                                                                                                                                   

In an attempt to regulate water consumption during a 20-year drought, the city of Urinetown has outlawed the use of private toilets. Citizens must use public, pay-per-use facilities owned and operated by Urine Good Company, a malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Caldwell.  “And you see what happens to everyone’s character when that happens,” said director Josh Inmon.

Drury theater student Eileen Acevis-Cortez plays Pennywise, “one of the enforcers of the pay toilet in the poorest part of town. So she’s the one who has to deal with most of the issues with people who can’t actually pay.”

“We have a wonderful cast, 25 cast members,” said Inmon. “We have a pretty intimate theater, if you’ve ever been to Wilhoit Theatre. It seats about 200, so 25 people on stage is a large cast for that environment, but it’s wonderful. We have an incredible set design by Doug McKenzie, one of our guest designers. So the set really goes out into the audience. The second you enter the theater, you’re in Urinetown.”

This is not the first production of the show in Springfield.  As to why Inmon chose it at Drury, he said “we always look for a show that fits the students well, fits the talent that we have. I also thought that the topic, the subject matter, is relevant right now. And it was a challenge for us. We always want to challenge our students.”

Asked about the challenges the cast faced in learning and producing the show, Eileen Acevis-Cortez talked about trying to convey the show’s more serious message through all the satire and humor. “Because it’s such a satire, it’s difficult to try the balance between the comedy and the seriousness of things. How the script is written, it’s written in a way that it’s easy to present the comedy, but at the same time you have to reel it back, or put a lot into it, so the audience will completely understand what you’re trying to convey.”

“Urinetown” opens Wednesday, November 13th at 7:30 pm in Wilhoit Theatre. Performances continue through Saturday November 16 with evening curtains at 7:30 pm and a matinee performance at 2:00 pm on Saturday the 16th. Tickets range from $3 to $14. Call the Drury box office at 873-7255 Monday through Friday 1-5 pm, as well as one hour before curtain for each performance; or visit www.drury.edu/theatre.