Making of a Musical

If Urinetown, come to the spring musical.


There’s an electric feeling in the air right before the start of a show. Quiet anticipation echoes through both actors and audience as they watch lights go down, curtains open, and the production begins. As months of hard work and dedication come alive on stage, the viewers are enraptured by the story.
Monarch’s theatre program presents Urinetown as the spring musical from March 14-16 at 7:00 PM with an additional 2:00 PM matinee show that will also be on March 16.
This year’s musical title is certainly an attention grabber. Urinetown is a comedic and satirical show highlighting a flawed government system, where citizens must pay to urinate due to a massive drought. “The name is very unique,” main actor, Wyatt Lowrie 19’ said. “Urinetown isn’t a name that strikes you as something you want to see, but it pokes fun at itself and other musicals. So, it’s actually a very well written plot. It’s just the name that’s there to throw you off guard, but it’s a good story and message.”
The show uses satirical elements to illuminate the importance of political awareness and the issues in today’s society, such as “the dangers of bureaucracy and capitalism, and the protection of the environment that comes with the dangers,” Lowrie said.
Max Murray ‘20, who portrays the hero Bobby Strong, experiences an exhilarating feeling during showtime just as much as audience members do.
“It’s great,” he said. “It always seems to go along and everyone freaks out near the end and then in the last few days it all comes together and it always feels great, like every piece of the puzzle fitting together.”
The students take it upon themselves to make their performances memorable and dynamic. Members of the cast can be seen preparing at any given moment. They walk around the stage rehearsing their lines, practicing facial expressions, and humming the tunes of the musical’s songs.
There is rarely a moment when action is not happening at rehearsals. Students mill around, pushing props around the stage and yelling about the perfect lighting or best spot to be able to reach every single audience member.
Theatre students use their previous experiences to help them connect with their character, as well as the play. “I’ve been doing theatre since sixth grade so six years now. I’d say I’ve definitely had my fair share of experience. It’s not new to me, but one I love every time I come back to it,” Murray said.
The actors often rehearse at home and school, showing great commitment. Levi Spanarella ‘20 is a central character for this year’s musical. Her character is Hope Cladwell, a naive and kind-hearted girl, who is the love interest of Bobby. As one of the main characters, Spanarella rehearses no matter where she is.
“I’ll rehearse my lines in the mirror because it’s just a good way to see how physically to enact them,” she said. Using methods like rehearsing in a mirror will help the actors perform their absolute best.
It’s their goal, reaching everybody in the crowd, that drives the actors and crew to pour themselves out on stage. For those hours during the week that they rehearse, they belong to the play. “We have rehearsal every day for around two to three hours. Not everyone is asked to be there every day, though. So, I would say on average, each person spends probably six to eight hours a week,” Lowrie said.
On Saturdays, each member of the play is encouraged to spend hours on tech in order to sculpt the most meaningful show. Although everybody must contribute to the the tech, there are specific people that must take charge, someone having a specialty in each area.
Gregory Bell ‘21 works as both an actor and a part of the crew. “I enjoy both acting and doing tech, and I’m lucky enough on this production to be doing both acting and lighting,” he said. “I have to say acting is my favorite, just because I’ve been doing it for significantly longer, and acting is the entire reason I got into theatre.”
Tech is an imperative piece of any theatre program, working with meticulous care everyday to ensure the show comes together seamlessly. Every minute of work that the crew dedicates in order to compliment the performers makes a lasting imprint to the final product. “As we get closer to the show, it’ll be six days a week lighting and acting,” Bell said. “It feels nice to be apart of the artistic team that is bringing the entire show to life,” he said.
By the end of rehearsals, tech meets, and long hours of labor, the actors and crew have reached their objective of recreating Urinetown. No matter who it is, everyone’s role is important, from fixing the lighting to spinning their co-actor around on stage in a chair. Practices are spent memorizing their cues, lines, or helping to craft the perfect prop for the audience members to enjoy. Each person and piece is essential for the production of a musical.