Urinetown Auditions 85 in First Round


Katie Erickson, Staff Writer

Choir students finished the 1st round of auditions for the annual musical on October 1 and 2. Auditions were held in the CPAC with about 85 students singing 16 bars in hour-long audition slots that began at 6pm.  This year’s musical, “Urinetown,” will have 8 performances over 2 weeks, from March 14-22, 2014.

Each participant memorized a small section of a Broadway musical solo and performed it in front of a panel of judges: choir teacher Mark Roberts, vocal coach Grace Chaffey, production manager Michele Miller, choreographer Jenna Harris, and director Dave Pinkham. The participants introduced themselves, sang with an accompanist, and hoped to make it into the group of 30 who get invited to callbacks.

The callbacks will be held on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 6pm-9pm. Pinkham said that the second sessions are a difficult part of the audition process. “The callbacks are where the people we want to see again, who will get casted into named roles, will have to learn songs and scenes form the show itself for the second round of auditions. We try to make it as casual and supportive as possible,” he said.

Senior Mariette Eberle was invited back to the second auditions. “I’m really excited for callbacks because it is my senior year. It’s going to be exciting to hear everyone and whose voice fits each character,” she said.

Sophomore Maddie Dolan, who participated in the last year’s musical, “Legally Blonde,” was anxious and excited when getting ready for auditions. She said, “Last year, I was nervous because there were a lot of upperclassmen and they were really talented, which made it very intimidating. But once they started singing, it helped me relax.”

When watching the auditions, Pinkham looked for those who showed professionalism and readiness. “It depends on the show but in general what we are always looking for is preparedness, music learned, appropriate dress, on time, singing in tune, understanding the song they picked and important little details,” he said.

There are many difficulties in picking the parts for the musical. “Casting is a mine field, always, and the challenges are finding enough roles to satisfy all of the students who really deserve to have a role. We take into account the student’s ability and try to imagine how they will fulfill the requirements of a particular role, but we also have to look at their past performance and their future opportunity,” Pinkham said.

When juggling school and participating in the musical, Dolan said, “I definitely had to stay up late on some of the five hour rehearsal days, and it was really tiring. I had to be very focused, but it was worth it in the end.”

Pinkham, with high hopes for this year, said, “My expectations are that we will be able to take it seriously, as a piece of art and understand and deliver the message that is built into the play.”

Unlike previous plays performed by students, “Urinetown” is a satire, focusing on the humor found in foolishness. On the difficulties for this year, Pinkham said, “It’s got some really funny things in it but it is easy, in a play like this, for younger, inexperienced actors to overdo it by trying too hard to make it funny or by taking it over the top to make it lose the message of the show.”

Urinetown has been shown hundreds of time across the country. Locally, Town Hall Educational Program is performing “Urinetown” in January.

“Urinetown” was chosen for Campolindo’s musical this year because the CPAC was under construction, the modern nature of the play, and the right number of available male and female roles. With the construction on the buildings, the CPAC will be shared with the instrumental music program so a show with limited stage set up was needed.

Roberts believes that the Campo musical productions always show professionalism. He said, “I think the commitment to professional production sets Campo apart from other theaters. There is a long tradition of doing well produced shows.”

According to Roberts, the annual musical has a lot of support. “Parent involvement is big when it comes to building, painting sets and doing make-up, and the staff we get to bring in, vocal direction, choreography and pianists. Another aspect is how great our student instrumentalists are that play in the pit,” he said.

“I’m as excited about this show as any show I have directed at Campo, and I can’t wait to get started with it,” said Pinkham.