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Grand Forks Central presents 'hilarious' musical satire as spring theater production

Tony Award-winning 'Urinetown: The Musical' spoofs musical theater with 'wickedly modern wit'

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Timmy Hennessy (right) and Silje Kindseth perform in their roles as "Caldwell B. Cladwell" and "Hope Cladwell" for Grand Forks Central High School's production of "Urinetown: The Musical." The play runs Thursday-Saturday, April 22-24 in the school's auditorium. (Photo by Allison Peterson)

Grand Forks Central High School’s Department of Fine Arts is presenting its spring production, “Urinetown: the Musical,” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 22-24 in the school’s auditorium.

“The seating capacity for this show will be our largest so far this year, and we hope to fill (the auditorium) to that capacity,” said Paul Barta, vocal music and musical theater teacher and director of the show.

Tickets, $10 for adults and $6 for children, students and seniors, are available by calling (701) 746-2411 or going online to www.spacompany.org .

Winner of three Tony Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards, among numerous other theatrical awards, “Urinetown” is a “hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself,” according to a synopsis from the website of Musical Theatre International, a rights and royalties company.

The show, described as “touchingly honest,” provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms, according to the website.

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The story centers on a large metropolitan city -- like New York -- where a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. The hero in the story decides that he’s had enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom.

“Urinetown” is a show that Barta has been wanting to produce at Grand Forks Central “for quite some time,” he said, noting that he chose this play because “the ensemble is heavily involved and there are a lot of lead and supporting parts."

The show is also unique in that it references other popular Broadway shows in a satirical manner, he said.

“It is fun to have this sort of spoof feel to the show,” Barta said.

The play by Greg Kotis, inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, is described by Musical Theatre International as “an irreverently humorous satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny.”

Cast members are: Zoe Jiran, Bella Costa, Isaac Barta, Grace Carl, Colby Magenau, Silje Kindseth, Taylor Kiley, Nora Berry, Quinlan Schudrowitz, Blake Storbakken, Aria Kindseth, Ellen Berry, Timmy Hennessy, Lucy Welsh, Kaden Knabe, Carter Schmisek, Abby Ahlstrom, Sofia Ramirez, London Perez, Hannah Bensley and Keira Knabe.

Ensemble members are: Ashtyn Auch, Sapphire Boehm, Ezra David-Schill, Julia Dawes, Nora Fevig, Reyna Lindquist, Emma Prewitt and Jenny Thompson.

Crew members are: Jordan Bowman, Alexis Clausen, Keith Maloney, Kylee Sanders, Kaitlyn Twedell, Alex Vashus and Nevaeh Walker.

Related Topics: THEATER
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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