Timmia Hearn DeRoy
Urinetown: the (home-video) musical (2020)
produced by the University of Kansas for their Virtual Theatre Festival
This virtual production was produced during the hight of the Covid-19 pandemic. At KU when the pandemic hit, like most other places, all productions were cancelled. At the time, I was in the middle of working as the dramaturg on a production of Urinetown: The Musical!, a production that I was deeply excited about as it provided opportunities for undergraduate students from historically maginalized positionalities to hold leading roles. The cancellation of this production hurt particularly because of the loss of these opportunities. So, when our department decided to stage a virtual theatre festival the following fall, I worked closely with the students who were originally cast in the production, even those who had moved out of state, to create this adaptation. We focused on some of the big Ideas of the original musical, inserting our own grapplings with the happenings of our world during those months, and the fears the quarantine had raised. Beyond the final product, this endeavor ultimately provided some level of exposure for the students featured in this production to build their skills and credits. A major part of my focus as an instructor and director is to provide options for growth for students who are often shoved to the side.