Jeff Smith 7 a.m., March 30
"Power to the Pee-ple!" Different musicals define different eras. Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann's Urinetown defines ours like few others. It's a savvy hoot, in which the villains are Nazi swine, but also have a point, and the heroes are short-sighted and ultimately selfish. A 20-year drought, "the stink years," has hit a "Gotham-like" city. The UGC Corporation ("Urine Good Company") now controls water and charges a fee for urination. Dissenters disappear. Inspired by the anthem "Run Freedom Run," the people revolt, win, and go back to living egocentric, "unsustainable" lives. The musical's both very funny and a tough-love sermon on conditions today ("no one is innocent"). San Diego State's lively production (especially Act Two, when it flows at top speed) honors both extremes. Paula Kalustian's direction is sharp, and her choreography constitutes a history of musical theater dance styles (from Fiddler to West Side Story and beyond). The game cast has many standouts: among them Andrew J. Smith (heroic Bobby Strong), Maeve Martin (as Hope, who has plenty, some of it misguided), Charlie Reuter as Caldwell (totalitarian CEO with a flare for showbiz), and Brandon Joel Maier, as Officer Lockstock, in effect a comic Strom Trooper. The cast performs on Chris Allison's parched, nay arid, set, and wear Jeannie Galioto's costumes which range from Les Miz impoverished to penthouse posh. As he has done so capably at State since 1982, Terry O'Donnell's musical direction's first-rate, his performance on the keyboards indefatigable. O'Donnell retires this year. What a fine show to go out on!
Worth a try.
- Cost: $13 - $15 | Buy tickets
When: Ongoing until Sunday, May 4, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm-4pm
- Thursdays, 8pm-10pm
- Fridays, 8pm-10pm
- Saturdays, 8pm-10pm