Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 26
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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(Photo by Doug Lavanture)

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: Hope (Rachel Wenitsky, left, a student at the Stella Adler Studio at NYU and a Princeton native) and Bobby (Spencer Case, Princeton University class of 2009) are singing “Follow Your Heart” in the Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Urinetown the Musical.”

Idealistic Poor Battle Villainous Corporation in “Urinetown;” High-Powered, Campy Musical Comedy Opens PST 2009 Season

Donald Gilpin

The following exchange, typical of the show’s self-mocking, satiric tone, takes place near the end of Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis’ Urinetown.

Little Sally: I don’t think too many people are going to come see this musical, Officer Lockstock.

Lockstock: Why do you say that, Little Sally? Don’t you think people want to be told that their way of life is unsustainable?

Little Sally: That — and the title’s awful. Can’t we do a happy musical next time?

Yes, Little Sally does have a point about the title. But fortunately the silliness, the wild humor, and an appealing dose of song and dance prevail over the sardonic social commentary in this show that often looks like Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s scowling Threepenny Opera with an overlay of punning, wisecracking, and larger-than-life self-satire. In fact, Urinetown was the surprise hit of the New York Fringe Festival in 1999, continued to surprise the theater community as it moved to Off-Broadway in the spring of 2001, then became a Broadway hit in the fall of 2001, winning three Tony Awards and running for two years before its national tour. Numerous successful productions have taken place since then all over the world, and, yes, Little Sally, many people are coming to see Princeton Summer Theater’s current production — impressively high-spirited, polished, and running at Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus for just one more weekend.

The Princeton Festival Chorus Presents Sublime “Requiem” in University Chapel

Nancy Plum

With such an emphasis on the sung voice over its five year history, it was only a matter of time before the Princeton Festival turned its attention to choral music. Festival Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk began his tenure with the Opera Festival of New Jersey as chorusmaster, and as Director of the Princeton University Glee Club, recognizes the strong bond between opera and chorus. This year for the first time, the Festival included a choral workshop. Simon Carrington, who initially made his reputation as an original member of the King’s Singers and with a second successful career at Yale, came to Princeton for a week to prepare a 40-voice chorus for a performance this past Saturday night of Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. The Princeton Festival dedicated the performance in the University Chapel to Jack Ellis, a long-time supporter of the Festival and for whom the Requiem was a favorite piece.

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