OCUStripped’s production for this semester is Urinetown, a musical written by Greg Kotis.
OCUStripped is a student-directed theater company that produces shows stripped-down from elaborate sets and props.
Urinetown is a satirical comedy that pays homage to “hot” societal topics. It will be directed by Nicholas Haas, music theater senior, choreographed by Jackson Walker, music theater senior, and directed musically by Sarah Pool, second-year vocal coaching graduate.
The show selection was announced in November and auditions were in December.
“Choosing a show for Stripped can be a bit of a meticulous process,” Haas said. “Not only does the Stripped creative team need to be in agreement, but so do the deans, the voice faculty and our mainstage directors.”
The story of Urinetown takes place in a small town that’s been plagued by a 20-year drought, making public restrooms unthinkable. In an attempt to fix this issue, a company called “Urine Good Company” takes over all public amenities, forcing all of its citizens to pay large taxes and fines to use said amenities. The protagonist “Bobby Strong” tries to save the poor people of the town from having to pay fees they can’t afford.
“Urinetown has a poignant narrative that many of us can relate to, especially in today’s political climate,” Haas said.
Andrew Maguire, music theater sophomore, will play Strong.
“Bobby Strong is a passionate and brave leader,” Maguire said. “He has the ability to move masses of people and rally them together for what he believes is right. I think it will be a challenge for me to portray, but I am ready to take on such an incredible role.”
Maguire has been part of the last three OCUStripped productions.
“There is so much freedom as a performer to try new things and become more comfortable to step out of the box, and with no sets or orchestra and very minimal costumes, there’s not much to hide behind,” Maguire said. “I hope I gain even more valuable experiences during this process.”
Delanie Kinney, music theater/vocal performance freshman, will play his female counterpart “Hope Cladwell.”
“While learning my lines and vocals over break, I have begun to realize how much I already connect with Hope’s character,” Kinney said. “She has a strong will to find the heart in everyone around her, and she sees the importance in understanding different viewpoints. I think that having the opportunity to play the role will continue to encourage me to be open to perspectives that differ from how I was brought up.”
Kinney said she hopes the student audience will be inspired to find impactful messages in Stripped’s future works.
“I think that it is very important that the theater community continues to do shows that have a significant impact on their audience,” she said. “Urinetown incorporates humor while making statements about capitalism and the legal system, and there aren’t many shows that have successfully pulled this off as Urinetown has.”
Haas said one of his favorite parts of theater is the community it creates.
“This being my directorial debut, I realize now more than ever that this community is often set by the director him/herself. I hope that I can live up to my title and lead my cast with love, efficiency, eloquence, and confidence. That way, we can come together openly and truly collaborate,” Haas said.
Urinetown will have performances at 8 p.m. Feb. 2-3 in Petree Recital Hall in Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center. Admission is free.