Monday, March 16, 2009

Deceptively complex

by Mark Elliott, Professor of Musical Theatre (Musical Director of URINETOWN)

I've done a lot of shows, but music directing URINETOWN is truly a labor of love. The composer/co-lyricist, Mark Hollmann, is one of my very best friends--we've known each other for over 20 years--so my desire to "get it right" with this show is even stronger than it usually is. I didn't see the show at the Fringe Festival, but I saw it off-Broadway, on Broadway, and the national tour, and laughed myself silly every time. I really want for our audiences to get the full impact of the brilliance of the script and score.

The music is deceptively complex, calling on the cast to sing intricate harmonies in several different musical styles, from Brecht/Weill gothic to Gospel pop to musical theatre jazz. Our cast is doing a great job, but they're finding out the discipline it takes to fully realize this music.

We're very fortunate to have some wonderful musicians who will be joining us in a few weeks--it's not often that we can use an orchestra the size that the Broadway production had, but then again, not many Broadway shows are scored for a five piece orchestra!

I've looked forward to The Theatre School doing this show since I first saw it in 2001, and I can't wait for it to all come together.

Photo: Mark Elliott plays along during a recent URINETOWN rehearsal.
Photo by Jake Kvanbeck

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