Washburn University Theatre presents “Urinetown: The Musical”


courtesy of the Washburn Theater Department

Washburn University Theatre presents “Urinetown: The Musical” April 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m. The show will be held in the Neese Gray Theatre on campus.

Washburn University Theatre presents “Urinetown: The Musical” April 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m. The show will be held in the Neese Gray Theatre on campus.

Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, “Urinetown” first premiered in 2001. The show is a comedic and satirical musical depicting a town facing a water shortage. In turn, the poor must pay to use the restrooms controlled by the company in order to manage the water regulations. With money being in scarcity, many choose alternate routes to use the restroom, and if caught, they’re sent to Urinetown.

In regards to reocurring environmental issues such as climate change and droughts, the show is relevant in portraying a world that could be, if the environment continues to be neglected.

“It’s a show about 20 years old, but the issues within it are very relevant to continuing in the world. The people [in the show] are exaggerated, in a sense, to show a world we hope never happens,” said director Julie Noonan, assistant professor of the theatre department.

Furthermore, to cover such a heavy topic, the musical heavily relies on comedy through its unique characters, making auditions very crucial. Noonan and crew were in search of people who showed certain abilities and were flexible in playing multiple roles. Senior vocal performance major Joseph Coddington, playing the lead role of Bobby Strong, was unsure at first about auditioning.

“Julie, the director of Urinetown, was sitting in on our opera auditions. Later, the next day, I saw her in the hall and she goes, ‘You’re auditioning for the musical.’ I was like ‘What? I’m in track season right now.’”

After some convincing, Coddington auditioned for the role and found a new love for theatre.

“I realized, ‘Wow, I like this a lot more,’ So, I stopped running. I turned my full focus on theatre and music,” Coddington said.

Audrey Hentges, sophomore exploratory major and theatre minor, was surprised after getting a callback for the second lead role of Hope Cladwell.

“I was like, ‘What, no,’ but since then I have been throwing myself into it and it’s been so fun. It’s been one of the best theatre experiences I’ve ever had.”

The cast and crew encourages all to experience the show for laughs and something different.

“If you like something new, fun and a little off the wall, this is it,” Noonan said.

The show also teaches an important lesson for everyone to recognize and consider.

“I think everybody should see it just to laugh out loud and to really get you thinking. Even though this musical came out in 2001, it’s still entirely relevant to what’s happening in our culture today and I think that’s important for everybody to see,” Hentges said.

All proceeds and donations will help fund the students traveling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland over the summer. There, the students will be presenting a show completely devised by themselves.

To purchase a ticket for “Urinetown: The Musical” visit the Washburn Theatre Box Office prior to the performance or pay online.

Edited by: Glorianna Noland, Alyssa Storm