Imagine living in a city facing a terrible 20-year-long drought, a place where you had to pay a large corporation in order to handle your personal business — peeing. Would you hold it in and do as you’re told, or would you let it all out and fight for your right to pee?
New Paltz’s Miami Theatre Players will explore those possibilities in their performance of Greg Kotis’ “Urinetown: The Musical” in Studley Theatre from April 11 through April 13 at 8 p.m.
Miami Theatre Players President John Coen said in the play, there’s a big corporation that runs the town and charges the townspeople a “ridiculous” amount of money to use the bathroom.
“The people of the town decide to rebel against the corporation because they find it ridiculous that they have to pay to pee,” Coen said.
According to PlaybillVault.com, “Urinetown” has won a Tony Award, Theatre World Award and Drama League Award, among many other accolades and nominations.
While Coen, a third-year psychology major, described “Urinetown” as a comedy about capitalism, Director Blake McGready said it’s a show about sustainability that “satirizes the whole genre of musical theater as an art form.”
With a cast of 25 to 30 people, including the ensemble, McGready said this is easily the best cast he has ever worked with.
“Miami has been my home since I was a freshman — it was the first club I ever joined,” McGready said. “It’s a great way to do theater if you love doing theater performances, but you don’t have the time to commit to a theater major, or if you’re really passionate about studying something else here, you can still do it with Miami and get that type of experience.”
A completely student-run group, the Miami Theatre Players is made up of students of all different majors, minors and backgrounds, as well as off and on-campus students.
Grace Seghini, a fourth-year interpersonal/intercultural communication major, is a part of the “Urinetown” ensemble and said it has been a relatively smooth show to rehearse.
“Since this is my final semester at New Paltz, I really wanted to get back to acting on stage and get that whole experience again before I graduate,” Seghini said. “I especially needed to find the strength to get through rehearsals at times because I am also involved in other clubs on campus. Needless to say I am exhausted by the time I get out of ‘Urinetown,’ but it has been worth it.”
Last semester, the Miami Theatre Players presented “Little Shop Of Horrors” and sold out all of their shows.
“Over the years, we’ve gotten more and more known,” Coen said. “We used to perform in dorms and now we’re on stages. Every semester I see more and more of a turnout because more people are finding out about us.”
The group began the selection process for the spring show during the final week of last semester, narrowing down suggested musicals to “All Shook Up,” “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “Urinetown,” which would be selected at the group’s general interest meeting. Once “Urinetown” was selected, auditions and call backs were held on the same day, during the first weekend of February, in order to have more time for the production process.
“The whole show parodies a lot of different musicals and even makes references to popular media and movies, so hopefully many people will be laughing at those references,” Seghini said. “It is a show that can connect with any audience, in any time period. I expect audiences to be peeing in their pants when they see this show, literally.”