Nancy Sasso Janis
GetUp Stage Company presents the Tony Award-winning post-modern satire unfortunately-named ‘Urinetown The Musical’ this weekend at Trinity-on-Main in New Britain. They cleverly billed it as featuring “star-crossed lovers like ‘West Side Story,’ dancing poor people like ‘Les Mis,’ and nothing at all resembling ‘Cats.’ It seemed especially fitting that the venue, a beautiful old church, is located across the street from the New Britain police station when Officer Lockstock (played by Michael Gibbons with excellent timing) entered the stage in uniform to narrate the story.
Founded in 2010, this Bristol-based theater company is geared toward young actors and is open to all young adults in CT by audition. For this production, director Lindsey DiPietro has assembled a multi-talented group that gave it their all throughout the two acts, and boy can ‘the Poor’ ensemble dance! From the opening “Urinetown” the musical number to “I See a River,” they expertly handle the rich choreography of Libby Blauvelt.
Katerina Belales was pretty adorable as the precocious Little Sally and Devin Orde played the commanding Penelope Pennywise with a wonderful singing voice. Jack Richards took on the role of businessman Cladwell and commanded the clarinet in the pit as well as his minions in “Don’t Be the Bunny.” Stephanie Evans was his assistant Miss McQueen. Michael Lauretti Jr. was a senator on the take and Andrew Ewart played the doomed Old Man Strong.
Benjamin Marcil did a great job with the role of Hot Blades Harry and Kevin Michaud was Tiny Tom. Cody Mitchell played Dr. Billeaux and Thalia Palacios was Soupy Sue. Katherine Clarke Britt was a fine pregnant Little Becky Two Shoes and Danielle Cudney played Mrs. Millenium. Katerina Levasseur was Robbie the Stockfish and Destiny Whitten played Billie Bill. Officer Barrell was played by Tessa Coleman.
In such a strong cast, Michael Ricciardone was a fantastic Bobby Strong. This young man from Southington has what I call a Broadway voice and he relished in the role of our hero. One of my favorite parts of his performance was when he directed the tight harmony of the choir of the poor during “Run Freedom Run.”Equally as impressive was the always great Danielle Fusco from Watertown. She toned down her powerhouse voice to play the starry-eyed Hope Cladwell most effectively and then brought it on in full force for one wonderful solo.
Lea McCabe designed the set pieces that were large rectangular prism rotated as needed and they worked really well. Melanie Michaud, Molly Watstein and the cast were the scenic artists and painters. The cops used their flashlights well in “The Cop Song” and a large heart was well-placed for “Follow Your Heart.”
Kudos to Ms. DePietro on some clever comic touches and to music director Nick Stanford on a fine five-piece band. There were a few sound minor sound issues that didn’t really matter in this space.
This excellent production, one of the best ‘Urinetown The Musical’ I have ever seen, closes on Saturday evening at 8:00pm at Trinity-on-Main.
Photos of the cast by their families