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Actresses plumb new depths in theatre


Actresses plumb new depths in theatre

Two Wellington-based Americans are plumbing new depths for Stagecraft’s September production of Urinetown: The Musical at the Gryphon Theatre in Wellington.

In this Tony Award-winning stage show, a twenty-year drought has caused a terrible water shortage, making private toilets unthinkable. All bathroom activities are done in public toilets controlled by a megacorporation called Urine Good Company. To control water consumption, harsh laws ensure people pay to pee and if they are broken, the offender is sent to a penal colony called Urinetown, never to return.

Performers Kira Josephson and Jane Keller both hail from the US where this unconventional musical is set. Kira plays romantic lead, Hope Cladwell, spoilt daughter of Urine Good Company’s CEO. “She’s bright but has no common sense,” says Kira. “She has an interesting story ark that makes her question whether she should stick to her family ideals or follow her heart.”

Kira performed in Urinetown as part of her Theatre Arts degree in New York and is excited to be taking a lead role in Stagecraft’s production. “It’s so funny and self-referential and makes fun of the musical genre. I listen to the soundtrack a lot as it has such a great score. It’s challenging as a singer with its complex harmonies and jazzy, dark chords.”

Scarred for life by public toilets in her native Laguna Beach, Kira recalls the “dirty–clean smell of disinfectant and urine” and wet sand that always seemed to be present. In New York, she confesses to going 15 minutes out of her way just to go to the toilet in a café with a good bathroom.

Seasoned performer, Jane Keller, is no stranger to dodgy conveniences either, having toured to out-of-the-way places with a number of her own one-woman shows. She is now enjoying being part of a big cast. “I love being around so many other people and not having to write,” she says.

Jane plays Penelope Pennywise, harridan of the worst loo in town, and is finding the demanding score and need to dance a “good challenge”. “Pennywise is a fabulous role. She’s rough and gruff on the outside, but has layers to her too. She really cares about Hope and her boyfriend Bobby and has an old love story with Mr Cladwell. The strong characters are just one of the many great things about this show.”

Urinetown: The Musical runs from 14 to 24 September at the Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington.

Tickets are available from Visit for more information.


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