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Musical resists toilet crisis

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Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

When you have to go, you have to go, especially in a place called Urinetown.

“Urinetown: The Musical,” was written by Greg Kotis with music by Mark Hollmann. More than 40 students from the University of La Verne’s theater and music departments will be performing beginning Nov. 8.

The play has 15 songs and parodies many famous musicals like “West Side Story,” “Three Penny Opera” and “Les Miserables.”

“(‘Urinetown’) is a satire on musicals themselves,” director Steve Kent said.

The town was going through a terrible time when there was not enough water. This led to a ban on private toilets. The government, with the help of Urine Good Company, began to charge people to use the toilets and this created community rebellion.

When the hero of the musical, Bobby Strong, goes to Urinetown, he falls in love with the daughter of the owner of Urine Good Company, Hope Cladwell.

Zachary Green, senior theater major, plays Bobby, an assistant custodian who begins to let people into the restrooms for free.

“Everything that has happened is wrong so she tells me to follow my heart and that starts a revolution,” Green said.

Amy Bolton, junior theater major, plays Hope.

“(Hope) gets caught between her father’s wishes, Bobby and the spirit of the revolution,” Bolton said.

Green said he is out of his comfort zone in playing this role. He said it is vocally challenging because he has to be louder than the choir without a microphone.

“I’m not usually a Bobby but I get to be a Bobby here,” Green said.

Carol Stephenson, adjunct professor of music, initially was there to help the students sing the music but ended up playing Josephine Strong, who is the mother of Bobby.

Stephenson said “Why Did I Listen to That Man” is one of the craziest songs because there are six different parts and the pitch is really high.

“Because it’s one of the hardest songs, it’s the one they’ve worked on the most, it’s going to be one of the tightest songs,” Stephenson said.

“Run Freedom Run” is the students’ favorite song because it is the most fun and it involves a lot of dancing.

“They always look forward to rehearsing that song,” Stephenson said.

“It has original choreography with homage to classic choreography from well-respected musicals,” Zach Johnson, choreographer, said.

“They’ve had to work really hard,” Johnson said. “I want to let them feel educated like they progressed.”

David Flaten, professor of theatre arts, built the set before summer and after the students were cast in September, they began rehearsing every night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The set moves and will change throughout the production. There will also be full theater opening projections and a live band.

Kent said the theater department does a musical once a year and was going to do this musical before “Three Penny Opera” but Urinetown took more musical ability.

“Right after auditions we started the Insanity work out, for the reason to condition our body for the fast pace of dancing,” senior theater arts major Alvaro Renteria said.

“Urinetown: The Musical” will open on Nov. 8 and the theater department will offer a two-for-one ticket deal on opening night.

The play will continue through Nov. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in Dailey Theatre.

Student tickets are $8, staff tickets are $10 and tickets for the general public are $15.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at

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