The University of Lynchburg’s theatre department will present “Urinetown: The Musical” Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4, in Dillard Fine Arts Center’s Hailey Theatre. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is $5 for general seating, and the public is invited to attend. Tickets can be purchased here, starting on Monday, Feb. 20. The musical contains mature themes and staged violence and is not recommended for children ages 10 and younger.
Jeff Wittman, theatre department chair and professor, describes the play as a “parody of and a tribute to musical theater” with “familiar strains of music from the Broadway cannon in the songs, dances, and underscoring.”
He said faculty, staff, and students have been working hard this semester to prepare for opening night.
Rehearsals usually start off strong with music, choreography, and acting, he said, while “behind the scenes, we have students working in the afternoons and evenings to hang lights, build and paint scenery, and discover projection and sound design.
“We work hard, but we also bond as a company, learn a great deal about theater, and have a good time.”
The cast of “Urinetown” includes Hubbard Farr ’08 as Officer Lockstock. Farr, who was a theatre minor at Lynchburg, recently received a BroadwayWorld award for his performance in the title role of Wolfbane Productions’ “Macbeth.”
Farr is a founding member of the Appomattox-based theater company, launched by Lynchburg theatre major Dustin Williams ’05 in 2008. Wolfbane produces live shows from its indoor and outdoor theaters in Appomattox, Virginia, and other venues, such as Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.
Before returning to Central Virginia in 2018, Farr spent five years in New York City, where he performed off-Broadway in the ensemble for “Rent” and as Che’s understudy in “Evita.” Over the summers, he returned to Virginia to work with Wolfbane.
University of Lynchburg theatergoers might recall Farr — then credited as Aaron Farr — as the title character in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Curly in “Oklahoma,” and in other roles.
“We are delighted to have Hubbard ‘back home’ with us on the Hailey Theatre stage,” Wittman said. “He’s a triple threat; he sings, dances, and acts — with passion and precise comedic timing.
“Hubbard is an excellent role model for our students and takes the initiative to bring new things to his character with each rehearsal. He energizes and lifts our students to a higher level of performance.”
Wittman and his wife, Loretta — also a theatre professor at Lynchburg — invited Farr back to perform at Hailey Theatre. “Jeff and Loretta have been active patrons of Wolfbane over the years and Dustin and I have been fortunate enough to speak at a few theater panels in the past,” Farr said. “We’ve maintained a good relationship
“Also, we’ve used several University students in our productions, both on and off stage over the years. They reached out to me to gauge my interest and availability. I thought it could be a fun, new adventure in my career and, if I was able to help guide some of the students toward the profession, then it was a win-win.
“It ended up working out well, and here we are!”
“Urinetown: The Musical,” which is inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, is presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International. It’s the first of six events on the theatre department’s spring calendar.
On March 8, there will be a “New Works Festival” featuring script-in-hand readings of students’ original works.
On March 31, Curtain Call, Lynchburg’s musical theater ensemble, will present a concert of contemporary Broadway songs. Curtain Calls’ composers’ workshop, a unique partnership with emerging musical theater writers from New York City, will be on May 5.
Starting on April 13, the Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society will present a play chosen and cast by them to showcase student-directed and designed performances.
On April 21, Dance Works will present a full concert of student, faculty, and guest artist-choreographed works in various styles, including Broadway, ballet, jazz, tap, and swing.
According to Wittman, more than a hundred students from across campus participate in theater productions each year, including open, campuswide auditions and interviews for backstage positions.
“[It’s] a welcoming group to many who call the Dillard Fine Arts Center their creative home,” he said.
With the exception of “Urinetown,” all of the spring theatre performances are free. You can find the full schedule here. For more information, contact Wittman at email@example.com.