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Brooklyn Theatre Club’s ‘Urinetown’ at Muchmore’s

Musical beer-ter! Thespians staging ‘Urinetown’ in a bar

for The Brooklyn Paper
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This show has a casting call and a last call.

A Brooklyn theater company is staging “Urinetown: The Musical” in a Williamsburg bar on April 1 and 8, and will pluck many of its performers straight from the peanut gallery. By putting would-be spectators on stage alongside real thespians, the Brooklyn Theatre Club is able to offer its audience members a unique theater-going experience, said an organizer.

“We want to create an environment where everyone feels they have the chance to perform — professionals, amateurs, and drunk warblers alike,” said Mara Frankel, co-founder of Brooklyn Theatre Club. “The goal of our performances is to bring together new friends of all performing backgrounds — even those who only shine in the shower.”

To translate the Broadway comedy into an audience-interactive show, Frankel said she and company co-founder Stephen Schapero combed through the script for roles that patrons could jump into without practice, and moments where the whole audience could join in.

“We make sure everyone can perform without being embarrassed or caught off-guard by their part,” said Frankel.

Audience members don’t have to step into the spotlight, said Frankel. Those interested in treading the bar-room boards will perform one of 12 speaking roles or 10 nonspeaking roles, but the stage-shy can opt to hold signs and provide background noises.

And don’t worry about memorizing your lines. The entire two-hour performance is treated as a staged reading, Frankel said, with both company actors and audience amateurs holding scripts on stage.

The spontaneous, participatory nature of the show makes the experience more exciting for everyone involved, said one Brooklyn Theatre Club player.

“Audience interaction takes an experience that it is traditionally pretty passive and turns it into the exact opposite,” said Greenpoint actor Lauren Drapek, who plays Penelope Pennywise in the show. “The audience sees the actors up close, gets to touch sets and costumes, and has the spotlight turned on them.”

Brooklyn Theatre Club presents “Urinetown: The Musical!” at Muchmore’s (2 Havemeyer St. at N. Ninth Street in Williamsburg, www.brooklyntheatreclub.com). April 1 and 8 at 9 pm. $15.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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