The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title Urinetown
Organization Folsom High School
Date(s) of show February 7-16, 2013
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review OK, this is an off-putting title for a musical, and when I was first aware of it a number of years ago, I resolved that I would pass on this show whenever it came around. But this past Thursday, I decided to honor the risk that Folsom High School took in staging it. After all, it was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won 3 in 2002 so, I reasoned, the show must clearly have merit. And now, having seen it, I recognize this musical as a valid social satire, with a lot of excellent comic moments. Sure, there is a fair bit of toilet humor (such as the song, “It’s a Privilege to Pee”). But the music is good (and some of it is truly outstanding), and there’s a quality live band for this show. As for the overall production, it is far beyond what you might expect from a high school – even Folsom High School. The large, energetic cast is topped by two genuinely talented performers in the key roles of Bobby Strong and Hope Caldwell, and Tristan Bonds and Melissa Brausch deliver excellent acting and vocals that, for me, are the highlights of the show. I still smile when I think of Tristan and “The Poor” singing “Run, Freedom, Run”: it was a show-stopper. But the whole cast was strong, and Brianna Asmus as Pennywise and Julia Hoshino as Little Sally were two more standouts. The set itself was impressive, and the several brief choreographic interludes were very entertaining.

I noticed some problems with lighting on opening night, and it seemed that there were audio problems, as well, though maybe it was just me. I had trouble picking up key words in the dialog and in the song lyrics, so it was hard for me to get into the show because I missed a lot of the plot set-up. If you haven’t seen this show, I’d advise reading a plot synopsis, such as the one in the Placer Performance Calendar (see the link below) so you’ll go in knowing what to expect. But do go. It’s a quality show in both the book and the score, and all those people rising in a standing ovation at the end of the performance I saw are testament to the fact that Folsom High School did this show justice.

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