Theater Review: Beloit Memorial High School’s ‘Urinetown, the Musical’ an interesting concept

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

Beloit (Wis.) Memorial High School’s Director of Theatre, Greg Wallendal, continues to choose interesting concepts for the works performed by his students. The latest, Urinetown, the Musical, examines a current problem in our environment, the shortage of water.

Often ignored by the public, one of the causes is flushing. Written by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis and first performed in 2001, Urinetown examines the solutions that have become the norm, private enterprise.

A typical community, renamed Urinetown, finds the privatization of its water supply has created insurmountable problems. The only facilities are owned by Caldwell B. Cladwell, whose company charges for usage by the public. Chaos is the result.

The trend in theater seems to be that any subject can be set to music. This is an excellent example. The local police department has its hands full keeping order. Aaron Crary is Officer Lockstock, often at the front of the stage as narrator. His companion, Little Sally, played by Emily Gianvecchio, serves as his spokesperson for the town.

Of course, there is a romantic interest. Cole McMillan, whose father has been jailed for public urination, finds his love is Hope Cladwell, played by Sydney Winchester. The daughter of the evil corporate executive, she finds that pesonal relationships do complicate one’s life.

The musical score is played by an excellent group of musicians, supporting the singers beautifully. Musical Director Jacob Truby and Choreographer Kari Dray have created the exact environment for these talented performers.

Javar Thomas gives an impressive performance. The sophistication of every aspect, from his musical numbers to the details of his body movements, is unexpected in one so young. In Act One, McMillan and Winchester’s duet, “Follow Your Heart,” is a high point. The entire show was cast beautifully.

In speaking to Wallendal following the show, he informed me that his students have been invited to the world-renowned Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August 2013. Of course, funds are needed to make this possible. Do give them your support. For further information, call Beloit Memorial High School at (608) 774-4140.

From the April 4-10, 2012, issue

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