New Paltz’s Main Stage Presents Urinetown: The Musical

Our campus houses a variety of talented individuals, and their newest Main Stage show, “Urinetown,” is nothing short of exceptional. Urinetown – the satirical musical – is starting its eight-show run this coming Friday. The cast has worked tirelessly over the last few weeks while balancing classwork to make this production spectacular. 

The musical is a satirical comedy focused on issues within a society called “Urinetown.” It had its initial debut at the New York International Fringe Festival and was then produced off-Broadway. Gaining some traction, it was eventually showcased on Broadway from 2001-2004. The show has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and has won three. 

“Urinetown tells the story of a world where there’s a huge drought, so private bathrooms are abolished and people now have to pay to use the bathroom,” described Ryen Weston, who portrays Hope in the show. “Quite a few people disagree with this jurisdiction, as it makes the poor poorer and hardly affects the rich. So, they revolt.”

This show has been especially tedious for the actors due to the rigorous rehearsal schedule, which coincides with being a full-time student. While preparing for the show, students are expected to attend lengthy rehearsals nearly every day of the week, increasing in frequency as opening night approaches. The cast undergoes different kinds of rehearsals to focus on specific areas of the show. From tech rehearsals to dress rehearsals, it takes dedication to stay focused over these long periods of time. 

“This past week, we’ve been cueing the show, meaning the technicians painstakingly put together all the technical components as the actors walk through the show,” Simon Woods, who portrays Cladwell, shared. “It can be a tedious process, but the addition of lights and sound effects is exciting to see; you really start to get a feel for what the show will look and feel like.” 

This production is under the direction of Catherine Doherty and the musical direction of Brittany Proia, two esteemed professors within the theater department. With these two powerful women taking the reins, there’s a guaranteed space for these actors to feel safe and free to act without judgment. 

“I think the most challenging thing I’ve found during this rehearsal process is my voice. I like to change my voice for every character and in this show I feel that it’s very important, because every character is different and special in their own way,” said Lia Cardone, who’s playing Pennywise. 

This special cast has quickly got this production on its feet. Seamus Greene – who plays Barrel – spoke about his experience in Urinetown, compared to past shows he’s been involved with. “This rehearsal process has been a whirlwind compared to most other shows. We learned all the music in a week and staged the whole show in two weeks.” 

The audition process for a Main Stage show is extremely competitive, and scoring a lead role isn’t an easy task to accomplish. Students prepare for their long-awaited time slot to audition months in advance, to which they then eagerly anticipate the announcement of the cast list. Upon their achievement of landing a role, they’re met with weeks of tiresome and yet rewarding work to create their masterpiece to showcase to the public.

“Being in a production is, in many ways, the equivalent of a full-time job; when so many students are juggling class and work and personal matters on top of that, it can be extremely easy to become overwhelmed,” Woods remarked. It’s quite impressive that these student actors can maintain success in their academic and extra-curricular lives while showcasing talent in both aspects; there’s been a slew of silly videos uploaded to the New Paltz Theater TikTok account showing the tight bond that’s been formed over the weeks. This past weekend’s cue-to-cue had a handful of remarkable moments for the cast.

“One of our cast members and their dressers did a 30-second costume change in just 25 seconds,” shared Gab Salerno, who plays Dr. Billeaux. “I feel so lucky to have been cast in this show, especially with how talented and skilled this cast is. It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but as we get closer to the end, I feel that my confidence in myself and my acting has increased, and I can only hope that it has shown throughout our rehearsal process.”

Urinetown is a special production for many reasons, one of which is its location on campus. The show’s been rehearsing underneath Starbucks in Parker Theater, the school’s sole Black Box theater. Experiencing a show as an audience member in this type of space makes you feel like you’re essentially on the stage, and the action is much easier to notice. This is also unique for actors in the show, as it’s a strange environment to get familiar with. 

“A challenge I felt was being in the black box, just because I’ve never done it before so I had to adjust to audience members being on three sides of the stage instead of just one,” Cardone explained. “I learned to love it and I’m excited for when people are actually up close and in the seats.”

Following each opening night is a gala for those in the theater department, and Urinetown is no exception. The cast and crew are excited to celebrate the success of their first run-through with a live audience. The musical is opening on April 12, with shows running through April 21. Tickets can be found on the theater department’s website, The talented cast has worked so hard over the past few weeks. This is a production you won’t want to miss.

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About Samantha Salerno 84 Articles
Samantha (Sam) Salerno is a third-year performing arts major who has a passion for writing. This is her third semester on The Oracle. She spent the majority of her summer working for the publication, Fire Island News. You can reach her by emailing