“Urinetown” auditions to draw crowd, generate buzz

When people hear the name of the play “Urinetown,” the first thing that comes to their mind probably isn’t a Broadway musical worthy of winning four Tony awards. But for the University of Maine School of Performing Arts (SPA), “Urinetown” is one of the only things on the minds of those looking forward to auditions for the upcoming show that will take the stage in February 2016.

“Urinetown” is a story about a revolution and a town with a large water shortage. Because of the water shortage, private bathrooms were not allowed, so everyone had to use public bathrooms in town. These bathrooms were owned and run by a company called Urine Good Company. To use these amenities, the townies have to pay. One of the main characters, Bobby Strong, rebels against the company and rules after his dad is arrested and put in “Urinetown” for urinating on bushes in public. Bobby, after starting the rebellion, goes on a quest along with a few other friends, to find out what exactly “Urinetown” is.

“The show is kind of made to poke fun at the cliches of musical theatre,” Ben McNaboe, a graduate student at UMaine and the music director of “Urinetown,” said of the play being directed by Professor of Theatre, Tom Mikotowicz.

McNaboe is a long-time music director. Although this is only his second year as the music director for UMaine’s SPA, he believes this will be around his 63rd show in which he has participated.

“The best part is seeing an actor do their thing and then seeing them have their moment. You can see it click in their face. I love that. I love thinking that I was a part of making that happen,” McNaboe said.

Guest choreographer Ray Dumont from Portland is coming up to work with the directors to help the cast members on learning the dances. On Monday, Nov. 16, Dumont will be teaching a small section of dance prior to having them audition. On Monday there will also be a vocal component of the audition, in which actors will perform song selections of their own choosing. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, people will read from the script selections from the characters for which they are auditioning. Wednesday will be used for callbacks if necessary.

“We do callbacks a lot because we are looking for people that are teachable and willing to learn through the process. That goes much farther and is much more important. Aside from being prepared, coming in with a positive attitude and walking in willing to do anything is good,” McNaboe said.

Many students will be vying for various slots in this play, since there are a lot of different openings available.

Kristen Richards, a second-year theatre and child development student, is trying out for the role of Mrs. Penny Wise, one of the only storeowners who has a working bathroom in the town.

“I’m really excited because it was one of the bigger plays that the university has ever done. There is a lot of hype. [It’s] probably going to be a really enjoyable show and a really enjoyable cast,” Richards said.

 

Correction Notice: The play is being directed by Tom Mikotowicz, a professor of theatre in the School of Performing Arts. Ben McNaboe is the music director. A previous version of this article incorrectly listed McNaboe as both theater and music director. 

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