Bloomfield HS to perform ‘Urinetown’

Photo by Daniel Jackovino
The lead roles in ‘Urinetown’ are portrayed by actors Andrew LoMonte and Ciari Grady.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield High School Thespian Society will perform “Urinetown,” a campy satire with outsized acting about a totalitarian government which prohibits private toilets and charges its citizens for the privilege of urinating in government urinals.

“‘Urinetown’ is timeless,” said BHS theater teacher Brandon Doemling, “because it’s always in a state of disaster.”
Shows are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 2, 3, and 4, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m., in the BHS auditorium.

The show opened on Broadway, Sept. 20, 2001, nine days after the World Trade Center attack. It ran for 965 performances and won three Tony Awards including best book and best original score.
In his director’s notes, Doemling put the Broadway success into perspective.

“‘Urinetown’ opened September 2001,” he said. “Talk about bad timing! Here was a musical tale of a town without a moral compass, within an environmental nightmare. Urinetown is the address of corporate greed incarnate, peopled by citizens whose antipathy toward humankind reaches its basest level.

“But if you visited NYC in the weeks that followed that tragic event, you were struck by how small-town it felt. We witnessed an outpouring of compassion for those who lost loved ones and heartfelt gratitude for the first responders whose bravery knew no bounds.”

The show, Doemling continued, asks the audience to consider how lucky they really are and not to ignore the underprivileged.

“The narrator is a cop and the characters step out of the play to make comments,” he added. “It’s also a larger-than-life show. Popeye and Olive Oil would be at home in it.”
Doemling is joined by his talented daughter, Schuyler Doemling, who serves as assistant director for the production.

No stranger to “Urinetown,” he served as the director in 2013 for the Talent Time Players – the longstanding Bloomfield summertime troupe. And while the Talent Time production drew rave reviews, he said it would not be wise to rest on his laurels.

“In the 2013 show, there were some terrific bits,” he said. “But those were older actors and they came up with them. I cannot force my high school performers to do the same bits.”

The two leads for the BHS show include Andrew LoMonte, who plays Bobby Strong, the custodian who will ferment and lead a revolt; and Ciari Grady, who portrays Hope, the daughter of the show’s tyrant, Cladwell B. Cladwell.

LoMonte, a senior, has performed in 10 BHS productions including “Everyman” and “Rent.” For Grady, a junior, this is her fourth BHS show, including “Into the Woods” and “Rent.”

The production includes musical direction by Kyle Cottrell; band direction by Natalie Kerr; choreography by Tracey Turner Turano; set design by Ralph V. Turano; lighting and sound design by Nicholas Von Hagel; and costumes by Kathy Martinez. The associate producer is Abby Maichuk Miles with properties by Roberta Petrik. Julia Aiello is assistant choreographer. The cast features 31 BHS students with a stage crew of 15 BHS students.