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MWCS presents “Urinetown” March 21, 22, and 23

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MADRID – “Urinetown” is an awful title for an awfully funny musical.

But students at Madrid-Waddington Central School say it’s a musical that is more than its name, which is why they chose it as their spring musical production.

The satirical musical comedy, with music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, features “high-energy musical numbers, but with very few pee jokes,” according to students.

The musical is set in a world where water is scarce and private toilets are banned, and Caldwell B. Cladwell, CEO of utilitarian megacorporation Urine Good Company, makes people pay to use public bathrooms. If they don’t obey, they are exiled to the mysterious and elusive penal colony called “Urinetown.”

“I guess you would describe it as a futuristic, dystopian song-and-dance musical,” Jennifer E. Ryan, a senior who plays heroine Hope Cladwell, said.

But a rebellion breaks out when the oppressed, full-bladdered masses huddle in line at the poorest, filthiest urinal in town, Public Amenity #9, which is run by the rigid, harshly authoritarian Penelope Pennywise played by Logan E. Barkley, a senior.

“She’s very mean,” Ms. Barkley said. “It’s her behavior that sets in motion the rebellion. The whole idea is so original and unique.”

Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, and winner of three, the musical satirizes social constructs — from conservation to megacorporations — and well-known musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof and Les Miserables.

In the same vein as West Side Story, there is even a star-crossed love story between Bobby Strong, assistant urinal custodian, and Hope Cladwell, daughter of Mr. Cladwell.

“She teaches Bobby to follow his heart, which may or may not be the right thing,” Ms. Ryan said. “It doesn’t have the kind of ending you would expect.”

The musical also features some very saturated satirical scores such as “Run, Freedom, Run” and “Privilege to Pee.”

All in all, it’s a musical you have to see to believe according to Charles D. Romano, a senior who plays the infamous Caldwell B. Cladwell.

“I don’t think Madrid-Waddington has ever done anything like it before,” Mr. Romano said. “It’s a clever musical that does a very good job of subverting the audience’s expectations.”

Performances are at 8 p.m. March 21, 22, and 23 at the Madrid-Waddington Central School Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling 322-5746, extension 172, or at the door the night of the performance.

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