REVIEW: ‘Urinetown’ was truly unhinged in the best way possible, bringing energy and mus

Updated: 5 days ago

Belmont’s musical theater department transported audiences from Nashville to the fictional city of Urinetown, where citizens have to pay to pee.

The satirical musical opened on Nov. 10 at the Troutt Theater, Belmont’s first musical with a full live audience since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belmont’s cast delivered a stunning performance that kept the audience hanging on every word.

“Urinetown,” which first premiered off-Broadway in 2001 with music and lyrics by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis, follows young Bobby Strong, who fights the city’s capitalist government where residents are forced to pay to use the facilities as a result of a 20-year drought.

Strong aims to reform a tyrannical government led by Caldwell B. Cladwell, the head of the Urine Good Company. On the road to revolution, he is introduced to Hope Cladwell, who shows him how to follow his heart. Together, two join forces to create a better future for the next generation.

Belmont’s cast brought the comedy to the stage through vibrant movements, energetic storytelling and more than a few instances of the cast breaking the fourth wall, but it was Darian Goulding’s Officer Lockstock in particular who lured audiences in through his unique sense of humor. From his facial expressions to his hip gyrations, Goulding’s narrator-slash-police-chief character sparked laughter from the audience throughout the show.

Nathan Ancheta also delivered a stellar performance as Cladwell, bringing a comical flair to the role that made numbers like “Mr. Cladwell” pop. Switching shapely between the personas of capitalistic tyrant and loving father, Ancheta created a character that audiences could laugh at.

However, what truly brought the show together was the ensemble, a cast of 32 who delivered their supporting roles with stamina and bordering-on-insane intensity. Every actor in the group brought their individual character to life, conveying backstory even if they never spoke a single line. Their commitment kept the story believable.

This came to fruition during act two when the poor rebellion took over the set. With three powerful dance numbers in succession, this ensemble made it nearly impossible to glance away from the stage.

It was in the number “Run Freedom Run” that the energy of the group hit new heights. The dance features a chorale, stomp and an improv section that brought the audience to their feet and earned the cast a standing ovation in the middle of the act.

During the improvisation section of this song, Chamberlin Little, who plays Bobby Strong, added a fun callout to Dr. Jones when he sang, “Let freedom run, let hope abound.”

Hopes for the show were high, with this being the first musical performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and “Urinetown” not only met expectations but vastly exceeded them.

At long last, Broadway is back on the Belmont stage.

PHOTO: by Mitch Beard / Belmont Musical Theater

This review was written by Allynne Miller.

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