‘Urinetown’: The Musical


Nadiyah Hansraj

Hope Cladwell and Soupy Sue

The buzz has already begun! This year Marymount London’s annual production will be a musical satire of the legal system, capitalism and social irresponsibility called ‘Urinetown’! It was written by Greg Kotis, the music composed by Mark Hollmann and lyrics written by both Kotis and Hollmann. It premiered in 2001 and tells the tale of a fictional future city where a twenty-year drought has destroyed the water supply. In an attempt to regulate water consumption, the government bans all private toilets, forcing citizens to use public pay-as-you-go toilets. These toilets are owned by a malevolent private company called Urine Good Company, run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell. Citizens who try to avoid the toilet fee by going in the bushes face the risk of being whisked away to Urinetown, a mysterious town where many people have been sent, but have never returned…

Ms. Szymczak, the Head of Performing Arts, says that she has always wanted to produce this musical, and felt that “with the surge in awareness with regards to climate change and the environment, this was a good time to explore a highly topical issue through the medium of theatre in a satirical way.”

Marymount’s production of Urinetown will take place on the following dates:

  • Thursday 6th February 2020
  • Friday 7th February 2020
  • Saturday 8th February 2020

We were wondering how this musical will be different from the other musicals the school has offered in the past few years, so we went to speak to Ms. Szymczak to hear her thoughts and ideas for the production. She says, “I have a creative idea of using elements of Steam punk for the costume design, and creating an underground world with scaffolding and atmospheric dappled lighting.” It surely seems like it’s going to be unique and wonderful! A dedicated cast of actors, singers and dancers will be working long hours on this intriguing musical and putting in their best effort. We certainly don’t want to miss it, and neither should you, so make sure to keep your eyes open for ticket sales!

Everyone has different techniques for learning lines, but some people, especially when it’s their first time taking part in a production, might find themselves struggling to learn all of their parts. Below, students who have taken part in previous plays share their advice for learning lines,

“I learnt the hard way that you really need to be doing it with someone else,” 11th Grader Ani Strecker, who played the lead role in last year’s ‘Hairspray’ as Tracy Turnblad, says “even if that means forcing your sister into sitting with you for hours.” She advises students to go through the lines first on their own and try to memorize them as best as they can. “Once you feel like you have it down to a good standard, take someone and go through the conversation so it is more natural.” Another student shares that they usually read their lines before going to sleep. “I think it’s important to learn lines right before going to bed so that your brain processes them while you sleep and in the morning you’ll know them.”

While all students are looking forward to taking part in this year’s performance, some express worry about the responsibility and hard work that has to be put into the play over four months. “It can be really difficult to figure out how to manage everything that comes with the musical,” Ani Strecker claims. “But, in the end, it’s easy to manage if you get enough sleep and don’t overwhelm yourself.”

If you’re wondering how to deal with this stress, you will not have to wait anymore! There are various ways to manage your stress. We asked some students to share some advice and experiences, and this is what they told us: 10th Grader Vivien Zartner shares her experience of dealing with nervousness. “Before the matinee, I was really nervous, because everyone had worked so hard on this musical and I was worried that something would not go the way it was supposed to.” She says, “I was nervous to go on for the first time, but once I stepped foot onto the stage and saw the audience through the spotlight, the realization that I had practiced all of this for this exact moment and that I knew what I was doing appeared, and I just got really excited to perform. I think when you’re backstage and you’re overwhelmed, all you have to do is realize that you’re with other people who are all overwhelmed with the same doubts and fears. You should talk to someone else about it, as it will help you realize that, and hopefully it will make you feel that wonderful excitement and adrenaline that comes with performing in front of all those people.”

As mentioned before, everyone uses different techniques for learning lines and dealing with the nervousness and stress; these were just a few examples that may make a difference!