Urinetown the Musical Review

The West Liberty University Hilltop Players concluded their production of the hit Broadway musical “Urinetown” last weekend. The musical was performed from April 6-10. The cast and crew delivered a top-quality rendition of the show with countless laugh-out-loud moments and impressive vocal performances.

“Urinetown” written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, is a satirical musical following the story of an alternate mid-1900’s town facing a drought so bad that people have to pay to use the toilet. The plot revolves around an uprising by the town’s poorest as they attempt to regain the right to urinate for free. In the show’s playbill, Michael Aulick, director of the Hilltop Player’s production said “[it’s] more than just a silly play, with an awful title (bad subject matter too), it’s a profound statement about the world in which we live. The play uses satire… to expose real issues that we face today.”

The cast did a fantastic job keeping the show lighthearted and goofy while ensuring that the more serious messages were not lost. Delaney Bird, a senior WLU student double majoring in theater and speech pathology was chief in conveying this tone in her role as Officer Lockstock. She said, “What’s cool about Officer Lockstock is that she narrates the show, so I am often stepping outside the fourth-wall and talking to the audience which the majority of the cast don’t get to do.” Bird’s portrayal of Officer Lockstock provided a perfect balance of humor and serious exposition.

Isaac Cardot’s performance as Bobby Strong, the story’s hero, was brilliantly executed as well, providing the audience with a character that was truly likable. Cardot’s delivery and vocal performance left nothing to complain about and earned well deserved praise and applause throughout the show.

Another stellar performance came from senior theater major Odessa Hores. Hores played the leading lady, Hope Cladwell, which provided ample opportunity for her to showcase her fantastic vocal skills and flex her comedic muscles. “She’s supposed to be making fun of, or making light of those [stereotypical princesses] kinds of characters in musicals… I don’t get to play the super sweet princess type a lot, so this has been a really fun experience,” said Hores.

The villainous Cladwell B. Cladwell was portrayed excellently by Calian Byard whose comedic abilities shone in the musical numbers “Mr Cladwell” and “Don’t be the Bunny”. Byard made a worthy antagonist to Cardot’s character, Bobby Strong.

The success of the show did not solely rely on the four main characters, however. The supporting cast contributed equally well to the top-notch production with brilliant delivery coming from Josie Jarrett, Carmen White, and Dan White, in their respective roles. The full company numbers were equally as impressive with effective dances and challenging sequences. “It doesn’t matter how big your part is,” said Bird. “The show is so much community based and so ensemble actors are just as important because they make up that community.”

The production crew also deserve significant credit for the creation of an immersive set and some fantastic costuming. The Hilltop Player’s production of “Urinetown” was directed by Aulick, professor of theater at WLU, and co-directed by Dr. Melinda Kreisberg, professor of biology at WLU. The two were joined by musical directors Douglas McCall and Linda Cowan, with Jill Warren as choreographer and Meta Lasch as technical director.

The production of “Urinetown” concludes the 2022 spring season, but the Hilltop players will return to the stage in the fall with a variety of shows. According to the “Urinetown” playbill, “After two years of missed opportunities, we [The Hilltop Players] are planning a bigger season than we have had in at least the thirteen years that Michael Aulick has been director.”

The season kicks off in early September with “All in the Timing”, followed by “Night of Beckett One-Acts” at the end of the same month. October will feature the season’s penultimate production, “Best of Broadway: The Review”, and November will host “Peter and the Starcatcher” as the concluding production. You can find out more about the Hilltop Players upcoming season by contacting Aulick by email at [email protected].