Tuesday, July 25, 2017

PREVIEW: Urinetown —Anonymous Theatre Company—Pearl District

“…Love, Greed and Revolution”

This multiple, award-winning musical of 2001, has book and lyrics by Greg Kotis and music and lyrics by Mark Hollman.  This production is directed by Darius Pierce (co founder of the group), music direction by Mont Chris Hubbard and choreography by Elizabeth Young.  It is playing, one-time only, at Portland Center Stage’s, Gerding Theatre, 128 NW 11th Ave., on Monday, August 7th at 7 pm.  Tickets are $25.  For more information and tickets, go to their site at www.anonymoustheatre.org
The above quote sounds like an anthem for many countries of the world at this point, but it’s actually the theme of this play.  I’ve never seen this musical but all reports I’ve heard from those who have, say it a real pisser (sorry, had to get that out of my system…damn, did it again).  This blurb is meant to be a Preview of the show since, being that’s it’s only performed once, a review would be anti-climatic, to say the least.

If you’ve never experienced one of Anonymous’ shows, then some explanation may be in order.  Auditions are held in secret, with no actor knowing who the other cast members may be.  They then rehearse separately with the director (and, in this case, also with a choreographer and musical director, too—whew!).  Once the show is performed, they mingle with the audience and when the time comes for their entrance, they say the first line from the audience and ascend the stage, seeing their fellow cast members for the first time.  For more information, check out my previous article on them from a previous season:  https://dennissparksreviews.blogspot.com/2015/07/preview-real-inspector-houndanonymous.html

It’s quite an adrenaline rush for the actors, I’m sure, and the audience as well.  I have seen a couple of their once-a-year shows in the past and it is amazing how well the cast blends together, as if they’ve been doing this for weeks.  But that is partly because of the actor’s dream (and nightmare) that, no matter what, the show must go on and they will forge ahead with confidence to rally their talents and give the best shows possible under any trying circumstances.  Actors are truly amazing and unique creatures!

The story, in brief, has a town that experiences an extreme water shortage and so private toilets are banned and the citizens are forces to us public facilities run, of course, by a malevolent corporation, looking to make a killing on profits, since it would be a monopoly for them.  Of course, when such evil entities raise their ugly heads, it is just the needed fodder for a revolution and so…see the show.

I’m impressed with the quality of their productions but it does prove that talent will out in the end.  And they do mange to garner an amazing array of seasoned performers for their shows, as well as directors.  Pierce himself is quite a marvel onstage, as you may have seen him in one or more incarnations of the dept. store elf on Christmas Eve at PCS.  And he will be in an upcoming production of Third Rail (at CoHo) in August, too.  And both Hubbard and Young are very talented individuals in their fields, so I can say, from this outpouring of talent and having seen past productions, this is definitely going to be worth your time to attend.  It is truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Obviously, I do recommend this production—sight unseen.  And, as always, if you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.