Rancho Bernardo High students ready to open ‘Urinetown’
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
“Urinetown: The Musical” focuses on what happens when people are charged to use the bathroom as a way to enforce water conservation required during a 20-year drought.
Rancho Bernardo High students will perform the satirical comedy musical at 7 p.m. March 16-19 in the school’s performing arts center, 13010 Paseo Lucido. Tickets are $10. The show is appropriate for upper elementary students through adults, said director Terri Rogelstad.
Though the show — which won three Tony Awards including Best Book and Best Score after its 2001 Broadway debut — has been described as a political and societal commentary, Rogelstad said that is not the focus of this version.
“I liked it for its lightheartedness and absurdity, not because of any political statement,” she said. “(Focusing on) politics is not my vision for the play.”
She added the “tongue-in-cheek” mythical show in which characters are killed for relieving themselves in the street when they cannot pay the public bathroom fee is a lighthearted contrast to the fall play “Pig,” which was “a heavy and pretty intense drama.”
Rogelstad said “Urinetown” is a combined effort between the drama, vocal and instrumental music departments. Handling music are band Director Duane Otani (who suggested the show) and choir Director Lisa Friedrichs. The assistant director is 2010 RB High alumnus Jason Solomon, who did the choreography with RB High student Allison Ruffner.
Solomon, a Mesa College freshman, said directing is his “passion,” adding “This has been a great experience. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”
The 19-year-old has performed since age 6 through MET2 and was in several RB High shows. He first directed in sixth grade, when he put on “Into the Woods” in his backyard, he said.
Due to the student actor cast as Caldwell Cladwell dropping out of the show, Solomon was asked to step into the role last week. Cladwell, CEO of Urine Good Company, which imposes the bathroom fees, is the show’s villain who “is very greedy, malicious, very selfish and will do anything in his power to get his way,” Solomon said.
Rogelstad said she occasionally provides experience to alumni with directing aspirations by having them be assistant director.
“(Jason) has really stepped into the role of director, taken the ball and run with it,” Rogelstad said.
Freshman Angelica Gorga, 15, is in her first RB High production, but no stranger to the stage, having performed in musicals since third grade through MET2.
“(Performing) is a way I can express myself,” Gorga said. “Being different characters helps my imagination grow. I am more myself when on stage.”
As Little Sally, Gorga said she helps narrate the musical with Dillon Thomas, cast as Officer Lockstock. Her character, she said, is a street urchin who “is very optimistic and really likes to spread hope and joy during the rebellion. … She’s really cute, a very young, happy-go-lucky kind of girl.”
Cast members are Anthony Cirillo, Roxanne Conowitch, Zak Corrales, Andrew Freedman, Rachel Garstang, Angelica Gorga, Shannon Hayes, Zachary Manlapid, Golden Owens, Chris Riordan, Allison Ruffner, Jason Solomon, Kresten Taylor and Dillon Thomas.
In the chorus are Sarabeth Belon, Sarah Finch, Katie French, Haley Gansert, Christine Heyne, Tiffany Lahe, Maddie Lanois, Katie Marcus, Elizabeth Moreno, Alexandra Nicholson, Genie Reyes, Kaitlyn Summers and Chelsea Thomas.
Accompanying them are musicians Kevin Erskine (bass), Joshua Garcia (clarinet), Daniel Jensen
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