#BehindtheCurtain: Get to Know the Urinetown Creatives!
We’ve officially started rehearsals for Urinetown, this year’s pre-professional production, and it’s being co-directed by an absolute dream team. Van Angelo and Xavier J. Bush, who were recently announced as our new Director of Education and Academy Director respectively, are leading our talented cast as they prepare this comedic masterpiece. But what is Urinetown even about, you may ask! It sounds a bit strange! Urinetown is set in a not so distant future when a 20 year drought causes the government to establish a ban on private toilets. The ensuing musical deals with love, greed, revolution, and ultimately the desire to pee “whenever you want, wherever you want, with whomever you want”. This week, we had a chance to sit down with Van and Xavier to dig a little deeper into this musical and what it means to the two of them, and we can’t wait to share their answers. So keep reading below, and then make sure you get your tickets to come join us for Urinetown running July 21-30 on the SDMT Stage!
In your own words, what is Urinetown about? Why should audiences see the show/why is it relevant today?
Van: “First and foremost Urinetown is a satire that makes very strong commentary on the government, and the people they serve. That theme has yet to lose its relevance. It’s also about the power of people who are in community and have a shared purpose. That’s the reason to see it, it stirs the spirit. It’s also an extremely silly goosey and wackadoodle show. So come see it and laugh, be silly, have a good time, and be in community with us.”
Xavier: “Also, at a more basic plot level, Urinetown is a show that takes place in a world where you have to pay to pee! Like Van said, it takes a comedic approach about government control and equality for all, not just the wealthy few. In today’s world where there seems to be more political divide than ever, seeing a show that deals with the same divide in a comedic way could shed light on how much easier problems might be resolved.”
Does Urinetown have any special meaning to you?
Van: “Urinetown reminds me of high school! I’ve never done Urinetown personally, but my friends and I did a 30 minute musical category at a theatre festival in high school. We made it to the top 4 but didn’t win. The group that did win was the group who did Urinetown. I have very vivid memories of cackling with friends in the audience.”
Xavier: “For me, growing up I did actually have a chance to be a part of a production of Urinetown which definitely makes it special to me. When I was 16, I played Mr. McQueen in a community theatre production of the show! I had an absolute blast with it, so it’s really cool to return to it now as an adult.”
Having worked on both sides of the table as performers and creatives, do you prefer one over the other? If so, why?
Xavier: “I often say that I believe I’m a better director/choreographer than performer, but honestly I like being on all sides of the table. I truly am just a theatre kid at heart and love being involved in any way I can be!”
Van: “For me, it’s such a toss up. I really love both. So often I’ll be on a creative team and get sad when I can’t do the run of the show with the community of people I’ve been working with for 4-5 weeks. I also spend a lot of time, as a performer, loving the work happening in the room and wanting to be a part of it as a leader. So which do I prefer? Yes.”
If you could be any character in this show, who would you want to be?
Xavier: “There’s no way to pick just one character I’d like to be in this show. I’d love to revisit Mr. McQueen one day, but Bobby Strong is a dream role for sure. I’d also love to play Hope Cladwell one day!”
Van: “Honestly I’d love to play Pennywise because Privilege to Pee would be extremely fun to sing, it’s a bop. Close second would be Hope, I’m trying to be in my ingénue era.”
What’s your favorite scene or number in the show?
Van: “I can’t pick just one, so here’s two. There are two acapella moments in the show that I adore. One is in Run, Freedom, Run and the other is in I See A River. They make my former choir director heart happy.”
Xavier: “Snuff that Girl is definitely one of my favorite numbers in the show!”
This show deals with a government restriction of toilet use. If you were to lead a dramatic revolution, what future restriction would you be fighting to end? Maybe an imposed limit of iced coffees? Or perhaps the government control of pet ownership?
Xavier: “I would lead a revolution against the restriction of dipping sauces fast food establishments give out!”
Van: “Mine is also food related! I’m ready to rally and fight against the future government restriction of having a sweet treat before bed. My cavities are my own business.”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Van: “”My aspiration in life is to be…happy” – Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, Mother of the BeyHive, Renaissance Warrior, First of Her Name.”
Xavier: “When I grow up I want to be an arts worker- so I guess mission success so far!”
Urinetown Creative Team:
Co-Director and Music Director: Van Angelo
Co-Director and Choreographer: Xavier J. Bush
CLICK HERE to buy tickets!