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‘UR IN Town the Musical’

Hart High School drama to put on show

Posted: November 4, 2008 10:03 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Students portraying the corporate entities in "UR IN Town" include (left to right) Emily Christensen (Barrel), Amanda McWorter (Hope), Matthew Van Der Velde (Lockstock), Michelle Muldoon (Pennywise), Daniel Botello ( Cladwell) and Lillian Proulx (Senator Fipp).

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Imagine an economic depression bought about by a severe drought. The severity of the drought is such that even public restrooms require a fee in order to conserve on water and enrich corporate powers.

Wrap your head around such a time and you have the setting of Hart High Drama's upcoming play, "UR IN Town The Musical" written by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman and directed by Dominic Bisesti and Brent Christensen.

This is a title that may sound tasteless but is fully explained in the course of the play by the policeman narrator, Lockstock, played by Matthew Van Der Velde and his obnoxious sidekick, Little Sally, played by Chelsea Akers.

The play details the striving of one nondescript man who stands against the injustice of regulated rest rooms. Bobby Strong, played on alternate evenings by seniors Jeff Nathan and Alec Torres, is the assistant custodian for the public amenity No. 9, but despite his lowly position he finds the courage to lead a revolution.

"Bobby Strong is a dashing, young everyman, though he can be very naive and impulsive," Nathan said.

In the midst of this mini-war, his supervisor, Pennywise, played by Michelle Muldoon, collects the fees to give to the corporate powers who manage the utilities which are led by Caldwell B. Cladwell, played by Daniel Botello. Hope Cladwell, played by senior Amanda McWorter, is torn between her loyalty to her father (the owner of the Cladwell Group) and her sympathy toward Bobby Strong and the impoverished masses he leads. Meanwhile, other characters contribute to the over-the-top satire that defines "UR IN Town, the Musical."

The name of the play has been softened up a bit at the request of school administrators.

"‘UR IN Town,' as Hart High is calling the play, is an incredible political/social commentary on the corruption of greed in a time of drought and depravation, poverty and economic depths," said Christensen, the show's co-director. "A terrific play for this political season, the kids love ‘UR IN Town' - they feel as though they are a part of something relevant and that there is an important message told in an entertaining and satirical way. Plus, the music is terrific!"

The students certainly spoke well of the play, both on its message and its comedy.

"It's a one-of-a-kind play," said junior Matthew Van Der Velde, the actor portraying the narcissistic Officer Lockstock. "It's funny and relevant. It has to do with problems we're currently dealing with."

Students involved in "UR IN Town" have spent anywhere between 12 and 15 hours every week since the beginning of the semester preparing for this presentation. By the time the play begins, well over 180 hours will have been put into its preparation.

"‘UR IN Town' will definitely go above and beyond the standard of the normal high school production," said Amanda McWorter.

"It's the funniest musical I've ever been associated with. The music satirizes plays like ‘Fiddler on the Roof,' ‘West Side Story' and ‘Les Miserables,'" said Emily Christensen, who plays Officer Barrel, one of the bad guys.

The play will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Nov. 14 in Hart High's auditorium. Tickets are $10 at the door. For information about this Tony award-winning play, call (661) 259-7575, Ext. 212 or e-mail

Jason Chew is a senior at Hart High School.


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