'Urinetown' clever and high-energy - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo


THEATER REVIEW

'Urinetown' clever and high-energy
By Bob Fischbach
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


A mostly young cast of freshmen and sophomores does Creighton University proud in "Urinetown," a musical spoof that opened Wednesday.

While the acting is uneven, the show rides on strong vocal harmonies delivered with zesto by a high-energy chorus, plus nicely executed choreography and a handful of strong actors in key character roles.

URINETOWN

What: Creighton University musical

Where: Lied Education Center for the Arts, 2500 California Plaza

When: Tonight through March 25; 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $15 adults, $12 senior citizens, $5 students

Information: 402-280-1448

"Urinetown," which opened a two-year run on Broadway in 2001, won Tonys for best book and score. It's a clever spoof of the musical genre, stylishly aping hit songs from iconic shows like "Les Miserables," "Threepenny Opera" and "West Side Story" with ironic detachment.

The show winks at its own joke, through banter between Officer Lockstock and Little Sally that directly makes fun of musical conventions. Extreme romanticism is punctured every time by cynicism.

Simultaneously, "Urinetown" cleverly lampoons political and corporate corruption, as well as the rashness and ignorance of the rabble.

A 20-year drought has led the government to save water by requiring citizens to use only public pay toilets, which are run by Caldwell Cladwell's corporation Urine Good Co. Violators are hauled away to Urinetown, never to be seen again.

Things reach a crisis point when UGC raises prices, and the citizens rebel. Bobby Strong, whose father was arrested, leads the rebellion. Penelope Pennywise, a tough woman who runs one of the public facilities, is caught in the crossfire.

Matters are complicated when Bobby falls hard for Hope, Cladwell's beautiful and naive daughter. At the height of the conflict, he kidnaps her.

As Hope, Ariel Talacko delivers the show's most impressive singing. Her operatic-sounding soprano suits Hope's idealism. Ephriam Harnsberger, as Bobby, has a powerful baritone voice that can really cut loose in high-drama moments. Colleen Kilcoyne, as Penelope, and Kirk Hauck, as Cladwell, also sing well.

Patrick Kilcoyne, as Officer Lockstock, and Cristine Tancredi, as Little Sally, not only harmonize well together but are terrific character actors, bringing stage presence and comedic skills to their roles. Patrick Kilcoyne also did a creditable job of designing the massive set.

Director Leah Arington Grair has done wonders with this young cast, keeping pacing brisk and paying attention to character detail even in minor chorus roles.

Kudos to musical director Stephen Sheftz, whose chorus sings so well on difficult rhythms and atonal chords. An a cappella stretch of "Run, Freedom, Run" was a highlight. The 10-piece orchestra wasn't quite at performance level at a Tuesday preview, but added performances will help.

Student choreographer Joe Wright can take a bow for creative moves and crisp delivery on big dance numbers like "Cop Song," "What Is Urinetown?" and the hilarious "Don't Be the Bunny."

Contact the writer:

402-444-1269, bob.fischbach@owh.com

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour
A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour

The downtown staple recently introduced a happy hour. And its menu's pretty amazing.


Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita

Chef Jose Dionicio has wisely refocused Taita on sushi, and the well-crafted small bites of fresh fish I tasted from his one-man sushi bar are delectable.


New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week
New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week

Fusion BBQ, at 7024 Maple St., focuses on American style barbecue cooking melded with international cuisines.


Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing
Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing

The Nebraska Beef Council announced the winner of its Nebraska's Best Burger contest.


Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef
Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef

Ryan Devitt will come to the restaurant as both a chef and partner to focus on farm-to-table style cuisine.


Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party
Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party

Over Easy is playing host to a west Omaha block party this summer.


Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary
Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary

“Transcendence,” a sci-fi thriller about an attempt to meld the human mind with technology, falls far short of transcendence. So far short I had to fight off sleep.


Dining notes: Dario’s has a new spring menu

Dario’s Brasserie in Dundee has a new spring menu, a new brunch menu and late night vittles.


Movie review: 'Bears' is cute — and so much more
Movie review: 'Bears' is cute — and so much more

"Bears" is exactly the sort of nature documentary we’ve come to expect from Disneynature, which rolls out a new nature documentary every year at Earth Day.


Movie review: 'Under the Skin's' sure to get under yours
Movie review: 'Under the Skin's' sure to get under yours

Quiet, cryptic and never less than creepy, here's a sci-fi that doesn't do the work for you. No character rattles off a paragraph or three of exposition and back story.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved