You’re in Urinetown

Milla Jans, Photojournalist

The finale of Urinetown the Musical, a phenomenal play about unjust laws, capitalism, and political forces, including just the right amount of romance.

“Well, hello there. And welcome – to Urinetown! Not the place, of course. Urinetown ‘the place’ is…well, it’s a place you’ll hear people referring to a lot throughout [this article]” (Officer Lockstock in Urinetown the Musical). Yorba Linda High School’s Musical Theatre class put on an adaptation of Urinetown the Musical, a play that adds a comedic aspect to topics including capitalism, the legal system, and political forces. The cast and crew spent countless hours ensuring that the quality of the play was beyond amazing, and they certainly met that standard. 

Urinetown was written by Greg Kotis and was first performed on Broadway in 2001. The satirical comedic musical features a small town suffering from a crippling drought whose citizens must pay to use the restroom. If there is resistance to the fees or laws, the perpetrator is arrested and is sent off to Urinetown, an unknown ‘place’ that no one is said to have come back from. The entire scheme is run by Caldwell B. Cladwell (Zachary Shoup), a businessman with his eyes set, not on the betterment of his citizens, but on the fortune he makes off the corrupt business.

The plot of the musical is furthered by the romance that blossoms between Bobby Strong (Lucas Riegler), the assistant of Penelope Pennywise (Maura Moran) for the town’s filthiest urinal, and Cladwell’s daughter, Hope Cladwell (Leilah Huttner). One event leads to another until Bobby is brought to Urinetown, the place that the audience learns is a grave or metaphor for death. In order to avenge Bobby, Hope defies her father by overthrowing him and making public urinals free again. However, the achievement is short-lived once the water finally runs out and the townspeople slowly die off.  

Urinetown the Musical was performed at the Yorba Linda High School theater from March 10 to March 18, 2023, and took two months to rehearse and produce. The time spent achieving the outcome of this play was incredibly worth it, as the live band and well-constructed props gave the musical an additional flare. Each of the cast members performing the musical numbers were remarkable and added their own uniqueness to the songs. 

There are many events  that go on behind the scenes, and Maura Moran (12), who played Penelope Pennywise, states that the process of putting on a musical  “…consists of auditions followed by callbacks” and that “…after the show is casted we have a read through where we all sit around a table, read through the script, and listen to all the songs.” Moran further adds that “…for our musicals we tend to have a rehearsal process of about 8 weeks. [There are] countless hours we put in and that’s only counting the rehearsals. Our cast is also expected to go home and learn lines and perfect the harmonies and choreography.”

Emotion and heart could be felt by the audience as the cast gave it their all, fully embodying their characters. Everyone in the play is made to be ridiculed, such as the poor, the rich, and even the dead. You may never know where the events will lead up to, making this musical such an engrossing show to watch. 

Other interesting elements of Urinetown are the intentional revealment of plot points, word play and irony, and breaking the fourth wall. Caldwell B. Cladwell’s power hungry business is named Urine Good Company, playing on the phrase, “You’re in good company.” His employees worship and dote on him, though a few question his credibility by the end of the performance. 

Officer Lockstock (Daniel Mudge) and Little Sally (Sheridan Fung), two side characters in the main story, serve as the narrators throughout the scenes. They make comments such as, “I guess you don’t want to overload them with too much exposition, huh?” (Little Sally) and “Like I said, Little Sally, this isn’t a happy musical” (Officer Lockstock). The pair make the play all the more amusing and fun, and Jordan Nguyen (10) expresses, “At first when I heard [the title] “Urinetown,” I thought I heard it wrong, but when I watched the play I was surprised to learn the name was truly “Urinetown.” The show was fantastic [and had an] amazing cast…my favorite part was breaking the 4th wall.”

YLHS’s cast put on phenomenal performances as Officer Lockstock (Daniel Mudge), Little Sally (Sheridan Fung), Penelope Pennywise (Maura Moran), Bobby Strong (Lucas Riegler), Hope Cladwell (Leilah Huttner), McQueen (Raven Hale), Senator Fipp (Marcus DePrat), Old Man Strong/Hot Blades Harry (Griffin Davis), Little Becky Two-Shoes/Ms. Millennium (Sierra Jones), Tiny Tom/Dr. Billeaux (Jaden Pool), Soupy Sue (Aubrey Esparza), Officer Barrel (Sarah Richey), Caldwell Cladwell (Zachary Shoup), Billy Boy Bill (Katie Ruoo), Robby the Stockfish (Carter Gaiss), Josephine Strong (Emily Lillemoen), and the ensemble (Amanda Aymami, Kiana Brumbaugh, Sam Davis, Alyssa Hernandez, Hayden Lee, and Claire Severson).

YLHS’s theater class has never failed to create and perform extraordinary musicals. Though the name Urinetown may be unassuming and strange, the cast and crew worked hard to make sure the play achieved the standing ovations it deserved.