Monday, September 24, 2012

Ambitious young actors audition for 'URINETOWN'

     Auditioning for live musical theater can be a stressful and trying process, especially for those with little to no experience. Nearly 70 students of varying talent and experience levels at Valencia College came out on Tuesday Sept. 4, to earn a spot in this semester’s musical production, “URINETOWN: The Musical.”

     “I think this is the most people we’ve ever had come out for an addition,” said director Julia Gagne, who also works as an artistic director and theater department chair at Valencia.

     Actors who showed up for the addition were told to perform 16 bars of an upbeat and ballad musical number to display their singing ability. Catchy tunes were selected to mirror the silly style of “URINETOWN” such as, “Avenue Q,” “Book of Mormon” and “Spamalot” to name a few.

     The potential players performed in front of Gagne, dance captain Forrest Hershey, choreographer Lesley Brasseux Rodgers and accompanied by musical director Tim Hanes at piano. These four remained professional and courteous to all who tried out, giving only a simple nod and thank you to individuals at the audition.

     Actors young and old, with widely varying levels of experience, came out for this open casting call. You could see the disappointment from a first timer after a botched performance, and the dignified confidence of seasoned actors unphased by the judging process.

     “I haven't been in a musical for several years, so I’m a little nervous because I haven't been judged like this in a while,” said health services student Karla Madrigal.

     So much can be learned just from the addition process, and the list of do’s and don’ts can be a lot to contemplate for the inexperienced. Along with having a strong and supportive theater program Valencia offers actors with little to no experience a chance to see what’s really in store with the pressures of live performance. 

     It can be compared to personal relationships in life; they’re not always perfect and sometimes you need a few bad ones to get comfortable with yourself and learn what you truly need to find success.

     “Last year I performed Rocky Horror Picture Show at FSU and it was a lot of fun, this would be my first show at Valencia if they pick me,” said psychology student Megan Kuiper.

     The comedic aspects and upbeat nature of “URINETOWN” also address complicated real world issues. Problems of corruption and greed from politicians and fighting over environmental issues form a backdrop to this Tony awarding-winning production.

     To help drum up more attention for the play as it gets closer to opening week Gagne planes to email college faculty in the areas of political and earth sciences about the relevance of this play to their curriculum because of the tie-in with politics, environmental conservation, and other economic issues.

     Shows are currently set to run from Oct. 19 through 28, and Valencia Voice will have continuing coverage as the show gets closer to opening night. More information about this and other fine art programs at Valencia College can be found at their official website,

By James Tutten

(Photos by James Tutten)

Madison Gomez looks over her audition paperwork with the judges.

Beth Hall sings out during her audition for "URINETOWN: The Musical."


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