Students of PlayMakers’ Summer Youth Conservatory will take viewers into a world where a 20-year drought has rendered the population unable to urinate without paying a fee. To end the five-week conservatory, the high-school students will perform the Tony Award-winning comedy “Urinetown: The Musical” four times, beginning July 19.
The musical is a satire that follows the lives of a group of haves and a group of have-nots. The have-nots are exploited by the wealthy few who run the toilets everyone has to use, guest director Jeff Stanley said.
“Comedy is difficult; comedy is not easy, and to have that satire, ‘Urinetown’ is really poking fun at everything from big corporation to musical theater itself to the idea of romantic love,” said Jennifer Wales, education manager of PlayMakers.
“Urinetown: The Musical” will open Thursday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. Performances will continue on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Paul Green Theatre on UNC’s campus.
Tickets are $10 for students and children, $13 for PlayMakers season ticket-holders and $15 for the general public.
Twenty-four high school students were accepted into this year’s program. The acceptance process is much like a regular audition. They must prepare a monologue and during call-backs are asked to recite scenes from “Urinetown,” Wales said.
“They’re kids from all over the Triangle area,” Wales said. “This is a chance for them to connect with one another; they might not have met one another, had it not been for this program.”
The musical is co-directed by Julie Fishell and Jeff Stanley. Stanley is a theater professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, and Fishell is a professor at UNC.
“Both (Fishell and Stanley) are incredibly bright and talented and have an amazing eye for comedy,” Wales said.
Adrian Thornburg plays Bobby Strong. Strong is the romantic lead who is responsible for heading the revolution in the dystopian society, Thornburg said.
“This experience is very much about putting on a great show,” he said. “It’s also about making each individual actor and actress better; I really feel like I’ve learned things here that I can use throughout the rest of my career.”
Laura Bevington plays Hope Cladwell, the daughter of the antagonist, Caldwell B. Cladwell. She gets caught up with the proletariat and constantly does not know which way to go, Bevington said.
“It’s great to work with people who are passionate about what they are doing,” Bevington said.
“We’re really proud of the production and the kids are working really, really hard,” Stanley said. “I think a lot of times people hear the title and think ‘Oh my god, what the heck is that?’ What they should know is if they buy a ticket to see it, they won’t be disappointed.”
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