‘Urinetown: The Musical’ to be presented by School of Stage and Screen

Two poor residents (played by WCU students Autumn Cravens and Caleb Gerber) climb a fence to escape the wealthy residents who are chasing them in this scene from “Urinetown: The Musical.” (Photo by Keiti Robertson)

“Urinetown: The Musical,” a story of citizens joining together to fight for the cause that unites them, will be staged Thursday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 10, by the students and faculty of Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen.

The production is part of the school’s 2019-20 Mainstage season. Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9, and at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 in WCU’s Hoey Auditorium.

With music and lyrics by Mark Hollman and book and lyrics by Greg Kotis, “Urinetown” takes place in a city with a terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought, which has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens are forced to use public facilities that are regulated by a single company that profits by charging admission. But then, a hero decides that he’s had enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom.

Apart from its humorous side, the musical “is truly a show about community and what can happen when people join together to fight for a good cause,” said Kate McCosh, a WCU student who is assistant director for the production. “The show also contains pertinent environmental themes that emphasize the importance that we only get one planet, and we need to work together to care for it.”

The cast of “Urinetown” includes 28 WCU students from across various programs in the School of Stage and Screen. The production is being presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International and is being directed and choreographed by Ashlee Wasmund, director of WCU’s programs in musical theatre and dance, with music direction by Kristen Hedberg, assistant professor of musical theatre.

Members of the cast are Kirsten Beach, Caleb Spainhour, H.K. Wall, Dylan Renken, Alexa Hendrickson, Payton Miller, Autumn Cravens, Leon Ray, Caroline Ryan, Corey Barrow, Caleb Gerber, Callista Brown, Micah Patt, Pablo Fullbrook, Rachel Sabo-Hedges, Rei Sakurado, Kelley Stancil, Jenna Gilmer, Emily Rowland, Georgia Reichard, Cody Benfield, Lexi Yauch, Bryson Peele, Alaina Newell and Helen Miller. Amanda Dowswell and Aubrey Rinker are “swings” for the production, understudying multiple roles.

The show is not recommended for children younger than 10. Tickets are $20 for adults; $15 for seniors 65 and up, and WCU faculty and staff; and $10 for students. More information and ticket purchases are available at arts.wcu.edu/urinetown, but tickets also may be purchased at the box office of John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center by calling 828-227-ARTS or coming by the box office Tuesdays through Fridays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or on Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets also will be available at Hoey Auditorium beginning one hour prior to each performance.