Welcome to Urinetown, a town “like any town that you might find in a musical.” It’s a place of song, strife, and – more uniquely – an enforced ban on private toilets. A satire on capitalism, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, politics, greed, and musical theater, Urinetown is the winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Obie Awards, and now, St. Petersburg College’s performance was named one of the top 10 productions in the Tampa Bay area!
Peter Nason, an award-winning playwright, actor, director, teacher and writer at Broadway World, recently honored the SPC Theater Department’s rendition of Urinetown, naming it as one of the Top 10 local theater performances. Additionally, a personal review article of Nason’s highlights it as “a gem of a production.”
Urinetown is a place where “private business” is privately owned – where citizens must use public amenities regulated by a company that profits by charging admission. This sordid circumstance is ‘thanks’ to a water shortage. Tired of the oppression, a hero rises against this monopoly, mixing with an eclectic cast of characters. Dismantling the ultimate evil – the malevolent Urine Good Company is the end goal.
Nason describes SPC’s Urinetown as an “incredible SPC production which took a mere five weeks to mount,” “smart,” and “funny.” It is “something that everyone can enjoy.” The article recognizes the set and tech teams while giving a grand highlight to the direction of SPC Theater Faculty Member Scott Cooper.
“And all of it was guided by a truly visionary director, Scott Cooper, who, if I gave anyone a trophy for Director of the Year, it would be his. His work here was so assured and creative that I want to see him helm more shows in the area, especially with professional companies. A talent like this, a director who knows how to stage a show brilliantly and with heart, should not be squandered. We need him.”
Cooper was awarded the Florida Theatre Conference Achievement Award in 2017 honoring his contributions to the arts in the college and university community. He continues to ‘keep busy’ with SPC’s Theater Department and is breaking a long acting hiatus as Creon in their upcoming rendition of Medea.
SPC graduate Chelsea Hooker was also highlighted for her stage and vocal performances as Penelope Pennywise. Penelope is the urinal manager whose loyalty to her employer is the cause of many character’s suffering, once denying a character and condemning him because he was short on his change. Chelsea’s number “I Cherish” is noted in the article alongside Nason’s local actors of the year Ned Averill-Snell and Roxanne Fay.
“Incredible,” writes Nason, “the word ‘stunning’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. During her first number, I wrote in my notebook after watching her (this was long before Aretha would pass), ‘Queen Latifah, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin better take notice.'”
Urinetown was Chelsea’s final performance as an SPC student, having graduated with an Associate in Arts degree in April 2018. She continues to pursue her passion in acting.
Urinetown was performed June 29, 30, and July 1, 2018 at the SPC Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater Campus as a combined effort between SPC students and local high schoolers.
Interested in joining the Theater Department for their next performance in March 2019? Auditions for Medea have passed, but acting classes are still available. The department is also looking for stagecraft and costume design students. Check out SPC’s website and the Theater Department’s Facebook for more information.