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A Musical Satire

Don't let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you -- "Urinetown" is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical -- which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroi...

1240164+urinetown.jpg
Bobby (Austin Weber) and his mother Josephine (Kendra Gilsdorf) share a moment of worry. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself. “I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson. But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted. “I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell. Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online. “I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.” Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before.
“I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year. “Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.” “It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell. “It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.” While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple. “It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said. At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.” “Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson). “It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.” “I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise. “It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.” The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”). “I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.” “It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief. “I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.” As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.” “She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out. “It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS. Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself. “I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson. But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted. “I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell. Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online. “I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.” Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year. “Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.” “It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell. “It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.” While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple. “It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said. At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.” “Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added.
“It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson). “It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.” “I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise. “It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.” The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”). “I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.” “It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief. “I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.” As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.” “She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out. “It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS. Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself. “I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson. But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted. “I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell. Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online. “I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.” Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year. “Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.” “It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell. “It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.” While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple. “It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said. At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.” “Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson). “It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.” “I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise. “It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.” The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”). “I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.” “It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.”
While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief. “I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.” As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.” “She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out. “It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS. Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself. “I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson. But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted. “I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell. Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online. “I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.” Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year. “Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.” “It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell. “It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.” While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple. “It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said. At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.” “Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] “It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson). “It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.” “I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise. “It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.” The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”). “I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.” “It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]] While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief. “I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.” As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.” “She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out. “It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.”
There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS. Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself.“I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson.But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted.“I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell.Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online.“I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.”Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before.
“I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year.“Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.”“It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell.“It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.”While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple.“It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said.At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.”“Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson).“It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.”“I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise.“It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.”The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”).“I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.”“It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief.“I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.”As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.”“She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out.“It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS.Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself.“I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson.But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted.“I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell.Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online.“I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.”Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year.“Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.”“It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell.“It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.”While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple.“It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said.At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.”“Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added.
“It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson).“It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.”“I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise.“It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.”The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”).“I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.”“It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief.“I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.”As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.”“She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out.“It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS.Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself.“I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson.But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted.“I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell.Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online.“I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.”Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year.“Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.”“It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell.“It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.”While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple.“It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said.At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.”“Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson).“It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.”“I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise.“It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.”The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”).“I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.”“It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.”
While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief.“I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.”As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.”“She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out.“It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240177","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS.Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Don’t let the name of the 2014 Detroit Lakes High School fall musical fool you - “Urinetown” is not a play about toilet jokes, told in song. In fact, the award-winning Broadway musical - which opens Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Middle School’s George Simson Auditorium - is a sharp, satirical look at everything from political corruption to the overly-romanticized nature of the musical theater genre itself.“I have wanted to do this show ever since I saw it on Broadway,” says the play’s artistic director, Kathy Larson.But convincing her own musical theater students to tackle it was a bit of a hard sell for some, she admitted.“I was really turned off by the title,” admitted Missy Larson, who plays the role of Hope Cladwell, the innocent young daughter of the show’s principal antagonist, the villainous Caldwell B. Cladwell.Having never seen the show before the choice for the fall musical was announced in September, she quickly became a convert after watching parts of it online.“I realized how brilliant it is,” said Missy. “Now it’s my favorite musical, by far.  It’s so much fun -serious, but silly at the same time.”Kalley Waller, who plays Little Sally, was equally turned off by the director’s choice - and she had actually seen it before.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240172","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"325","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“I was not at all hoping for ‘Urinetown’ to be the musical this year… but it really came to life in the read through,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better musical for my senior year.“Not all musicals have to be light-hearted and happy,” she added. “There are happy moments in here, but there are more serious moments too - moments that make this show more meaningful.”“It’s not crass, it’s very satirical and witty,” added Caleb Howard, who plays the aforementioned Caldwell B. Cladwell.“It deals with really serious issues - this guy (Caldwell) is an evil, menacing man who will step on anybody to get ahead… the ultimate capitalist. He won’t even let the love of his daughter get in his way. He’s always looking out for himself.”While he relishes the opportunity to play such a two-faced character - menacing manipulator to those he does business with, and loving father to his naïve daughter - Howard also loves the fact that “Urinetown” is not focused on one character, or one couple.“It’s very well balanced - every character gets equally developed, which makes it fun to watch. It’s also fun to see everybody get an opportunity to make the audience laugh,” he said.At the same time, it’s far from being all fun and games in “Urinetown.”“Even though it’s a comedy, this play has a deeper message,” Howard added.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240173","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]“It’s one of those shows where you really have to pay attention to catch everything,” says Austin Weber, who plays the show’s main protagonist, the heroic Bobby Strong (yes, the names are very evocative of the characters, notes assistant director Mark Everson).“It’s really melodramatic, which has been a huge challenge to play,” Weber added. “It feels over the top, but the songs I have to sing are really fun.”“I think this musical is important,” says Alexa Anderson, who plays the conflicted character of Penelope Pennywise.“It highlights so many different issues that are relevant in society today… These people are being denied basic human rights.”The central premise of “Urinetown” is that its inhabitants have been forced by a severe, ongoing water shortage into a situation where they are required to pay a fee to use the aforementioned public amenities (i.e., they have to “pay to pee”).“I think everyone should come see this show,” added Anderson. “It shows the power that theater arts has to affect people’s lives.”“It doesn’t really take sides,” Everson said. “It makes you question where you fall on these issues.”[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1240174","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"350","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"750"}}]]While “Urinetown” tackles some serious issues, it pokes fun at some less serious ones as well - such as the fact that the premise of musical theater itself frequently requires a thorough suspension of disbelief.“I thought this (Hope Cladwell) was going to be an easy character to play,” noted Missy Larson, “but she really changes a lot through the course of the show. She’s way more complex than a one-dimensional female musical lead.”As a counterpoint to Hope’s innocence, Waller, as Little Sally, is the “voice of reason” in the show, breaking the so-called fourth wall to “point out the flaws in the show’s plotline, and in the nature of musicals as a whole.”“She has a thicker thought process than anybody else in the show - and she’s a little girl,” Waller said. “I’m part narrator - I get to acknowledge that the audience is there - and at the same time I get to go back into the scene and let it play out.“It’s not just about pointing out the big, important things like conserving natural resources and not taking advantage of the poor, but also that there can be more to musicals (than just ‘boy meets girl’),” she added. “It’s a lot of fun to do that.”
There are five performances of “Urinetown” planned, including 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 30, Nov. 1, Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, as well as a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 2. All shows take place at the George Simson Auditorium inside DLMS.Tickets are available for $10 each at the Central Market courtesy counter in Detroit Lakes (call 218-844-3663 to reserve your seat), as well as at the door.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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