When you gotta go ... you gotta pay when you're in Urinetown.
Artistic director Elizabeth Garrott and her cast of talented Dulaney High School performers are at it again, undertaking the challenge of bringing the difficult (critically-acclaimed) Broadway show Urinetown: The Musical to the high school stage.
And Garrott thinks they've outdone themselves this go-around for her fourth show, second musical at the high school.
“This is the best show we’ve done,” Garrott said, beaming with pride after a final dress rehearsal Wednesday night. “Everybody thought, ‘Oh, we’ll never top Rent, we’ll never do anything better than that,’ and this is—I think—10 times the show.”
Familiar names fill out the cast. Gabrielle Tyson steps into the innocent, wide-eyed shoes of Little Sally. Ellis Zapas, and his confident voice, take center stage as Bobby Strong. Sam Sauter returns to the spotlight—after a brief stint in production—giving life to Hope Cladwell.
Scroll through the photos for more familiar faces who have grown up on the Dulaney High School stage. Continue reading to the bottom for a special message for the performers.
With veteran student performers, Garrott has shaped the sharp-witted, dark comedy, which runs from Thursday to Saturday. Ever the teacher, Garrott selects shows that force audience and performers alike to think and search for meaning.
She said watching her actors grow up has made her feel like they're part of her family.
“I hold them highly personally accountable and they know that," Garrott said. "... That translates to how well they take care of each other. They’re always respectful of one another. They don’t take any crap from each other.
"They push each other to succeed on stage and they take care of each other off stage. ... They’re in each others’ lives every step of the way. It’s something I really, heavily encourage with them,” she added.
Joining the cast behind the scenes is newly-hired vocal director John Wright.
“It’s an incredibly difficult show and he came in at a difficult time," Garrott said. "The kids grew up with this wonderful vocal director and all of a sudden they get this new one—and for a lot of them it’s their senior year. ... He had to earn their trust really quickly with really difficult material and he did that by being very patient with them, really supportive of them, and by really believing in them.”
Thursday's premier will determine whether Garrott's and Wright's creative collaboration have paid off, but *spoiler alert:* it has.
Patch has covered two shows helmed by Garrott at Dulaney High School. If Wednesday's final dress rehearsal was any indication, audiences are in for a treat.
So what's next for the Dulaney High School stage? A political thriller, perhaps? Garrott is planning for a premier just ahead of election season, "on purpose."
“Part of the reason why we liked Urinetown is because it makes you step back and say: ‘Well, damn, things didn’t end the way I thought they were going to end in a musical. Why is that? What’s that about?’" Garrott said.
"We want to pick something that presents different viewpoints—possibly something student-created," she added. "Even though our kids aren’t 18, they still have a voice, they’re still getting ready to be leaders of our community. We want to give them that opportunity.”
Will you go see Urinetown: The Musical at Dulaney High School? What do you think of Dulaney's theatre program? Want to wish your friend's luck? Tell us in the comments section below.
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