The Bonstelle Theatre satirizes “The 1%” and popular musicals with the wickedly clever Urinetown: The Musical

DETROIT – The Bonstelle Theatre closes its 2014-15 Season at Wayne State’s Midtown theatre with the Tony Award-winning Urinetown: The Musical, playing April 17 – 26.  A hit on Broadway and in London’s West End, the wickedly smart book and lyrics satirize crony capitalism, while the score parodies popular musicals.  Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, it was originally produced on Broadway in September, 2001 by the Araca Group and Dodger Theatricals in association with TheaterDreams, Inc., and Lauren Mitchell.

Photo:  Luke Rose (Bobby Strong), Anna Busse (Hope Caldwell. Photo by Felix Li.

Photo: Luke Rose (Bobby Strong), Anna Busse (Hope Caldwell). Photo by Felix Li.

Set in a dystopian near future, a long-term water shortage opens the door for private control of the scarce water that remains.  All amenities fall under the control of The Urine Good Company and private toilets become a thing of the past.  Residents must be flush with cash in order to flush and it is a “privilege to pee.”  In the tradition of 20th century American cinema, a “little guy against the world” appears and revolution is the order of the day.  Will good prevail?

Smart and sharp-witted, Urinetown mocks not only its subject matter – cronyism, political hackery, hollow heroism, and a bit of Malthusian angst—but also how it goes about delivering its message.  Parodies of musical styles and specific musical titles—from Les Miserables to West Side Story—are the means by which the librettist and composer pursue their targeted victims, even wondering aloud in the script,  “What about a bad title? That could kill a show pretty good.”

Tickets are $20 – $25, with student rush tickets available for $15 on the day of the performance. Tickets are available for purchase by calling 313-577-2960, visiting http://www.bonstelle.com, or visiting the Wayne State University Theatre Box Office located at 4743 Cass Ave. on the corner of Hancock St.

The Cast (In Alphabetical Order)

Luke Rose of Harrison Twp. (Bobby Strong); Anna Busse of Trenton (Hope Cladwell); Garrett Michael Harris of Royal Oak (Officer Lockstock); Taylor Morrow of Warren (Little Sally); Anna Seibert of Detroit (Penelope Pennywise); Kyle Johnson, a Hilberry Acting Company member (Caldwell B. Cladwell). Also featuring: Alexis Barrerra of Hartland; Jacob Boida of Warren; Jordan Allen Fritz of Detroit; Shannon Grant of Livonia; Logan James Hart of Grosse Pointe Woods; Shannon Hurst of Warren; Dante Jones of Detroit; Annie Keris, a Hilberry Acting Company member; Shane Nelson of Windsor, ON; Patrick Roache of Detroit; Kayla Rodriguez of Dearborn Heights; Keira Schmitt of Livonia; Rachel Smith of Detroit; Kendall Rose Talbot of Sterling Heights; Michael Vultaggio of Center Line; and Samantha Lee York of Dearborn.

The Production Team

Michael J. Barnes (Director), Fred Love (Music Director), Cheryl Turski (Choreographer), Max Amitin (Scenic Designer), Sammi Geppert (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Light Designer), Michael Sabourin (Properties Master), Mike Hallberg (Sound Designer), Courtney Rasor (Stage Manager), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director),and Stephanie Slusser (Publicist).

The Bonstelle Theatre

The Bonstelle Theatre is a Broadway-style house with a 1,034-seat auditorium featuring a balcony and much of the original Beaux-Arts architecture. The Theatre was built as Temple Beth-El in 1902 and converted to the Bonstelle Playhouse in 1922.

The Bonstelle Theatre Company includes BA and BFA actors, designers, and stage managers in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. Here, future stars of theatre, film, and television follow in the footsteps of successful alumni like Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC’s Law and Order, Lackawanna Blues), Lily Tomlin (9 to 5, ABC’s Desperate Housewives), and Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, NBC’s Heroes).  For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, please call the box office at 313-577-2960 or visit the theatre’s website at http://www.bonstelle.com.

The Bonstelle Theatre, Where Wayne Plays.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to over 26,000 students.

Calendar Information

April 17 – 26, 2015
Fri. 8:00 PM                        Apr. 17, Apr. 24
Sat. 8:00 PM                       Apr. 18, Apr. 25
Sun. 2:00 PM                      Apr. 19, Apr. 26

REVIEW: Bonstelle’s ‘Bat Boy’ a must-see musical

Review by Robert Delaney, New Monitor

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'Bat Boy: The Musical' Credit: Kevin Replinger

‘Bat Boy: The Musical’
Credit: Kevin Replinger

A freakish creature often reported on by the Weekly World News is discovered in a West Virginia cave in “Bat Boy: The Musical,” being given a superb production at Wayne State University’s Bonstelle Theatre in Midtown Detroit.

Yes, after all these years of seeing him stare at you from the front page of that supermarket tabloid as you waited in the checkout line, Bat Boy is the subject of a lavish stage musical, thanks to Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, who wrote the book, and the music and lyrics of Laurence O’Keefe.

And Bat Boy is bringing delight, not terror, to Detroit audiences, thanks to this splendid production directed by Michael J. Barnes and performed by a truly impressive undergraduate cast.

The show is surprisingly great fun to watch, and many aspects of this WSU production rise above what one would normally expect of even a good college production.

This is most especially true of the outstanding and genuinely professional quality performances of Nicholas Yocum as Bat Boy, Britta Peele as Shelley Parker and Bridgette Jordan as Reverend Billy Hightower.

Yocum scores high marks for not only his acting and singing, but also for the agile athleticism he brings to the role.

This has been quite a season for Peele, a graduating senior in WSU’s program. She earlier wowed area audiences with her portrayal of Lolia in “Hamtown Races” at the Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck and as Annie in “Cancer, the Musical” at the Marlene Boll Theatre downtown. If you have yet to see this very talented young actress or hear her excellent singing voice, make sure you catch her in this production.

Also giving truly impressive performances are Kelly Robinson as Meredith Parker, Jackson McLaskey as Dr. Thomas Parker and Luke Rose as Rick Taylor. But the entire cast can be justly proud of the success of this production, as can the musical ensemble, led by Devon L. Hansen, and those who worked the technical side of things.

Scenic designer Curtis Green, costume designer Mary Gietzen, lighting designer Brian M. Scruggs and choreographer J.M. Rebudal are certainly among those who deserve great credit for their roles.

How sad that such a sensational production should only run for two weekends! But there is still time to get tickets to one of this weekend’s final three performances.

“Bat Boy: The Musical” continues through April 21, with performances at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, at the Bonstelle Theatre, 3424 Woodward Ave., a block south of Mack. For ticket information, call the WSU Theatre box offi ce at (313) 577-2960 or visit http://www.wsushows.com.