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La Costa Canyon High School's production of the musical, "Urinetown," featured a 36-student cast. Courtesy photo.

La Costa Canyon wraps up ‘Urinetown’ spring musical

ENCINITAS — La Costa Canyon High School’s theatre department recently wrapped up this year’s three-week spring musical, “Urinetown,” featuring a cast of 36 student actors and eight student technicians directed by Brad Golden.

The Tony Award-winning musical delves into a city reminiscent of Gotham, gripped by a severe water shortage due to a 20-year drought. As a result, private toilets are outlawed by the government, leaving public facilities under the control of a monopolistic corporation that profits from charging admission for access to this essential human need. 

With a total of nine shows between April and May, the productions were organized by the student-led Thespian Club, with proceeds reinvested into the student’s educational endeavors.

“This is not a standard high-school production,” said Principal Justin Conn. “Our Theatre Director Brad Golden is incredibly passionate and inspirational.”

According to school leaders, the ensemble’s dedication to set design, costume creation, direction and their palpable passion collectively transformed the musical into an immersive experience for everyone.

“I love coordinating different things throughout the show as well as choreographing, singing, acting and putting so many things together has been an irreplaceable experience,” said senior Winston Bergseid.

According to Golden, LCC’s production of “Urinetown” was unique from others. 

La Costa Canyon High School’s spring musical production of “Urinetown” did something unique of other adaptations: portray the villainous CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell as a puppet. Courtesy photo.

“In all previous adaptations of ‘Urinetown,’ the character of the villainous CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell has never been portrayed as a puppet. This was a unique aspect of our production,” Golden said. “The idea of using a puppet controlled by three puppeteers draws inspiration from Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppetry form. None of the three students who operated the puppet had prior experience with puppeteering. Moreover, this musical marked their debut on stage. 

Golden noted that Ryder Dellinger, a sophomore and first-time LCC performer, not only sang the role but also skillfully maneuvered the puppet.

“It’s my first show and I think the feeling you get when you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people and telling a story is what I love most,” Dellinger said.

More than half of the student cast experienced being in a musical for the first time.

“This is my first time being in a show and I did it to experience new friendships,” said senior Gray Davey. “The people here are really great.”

As some students embark on their debut performance at LCC, others continue to channel their passion for the stage, serving as dedicated members of the theatre program.

Although Jasmine Papazian is a freshman, this is her second show with LCC. 

La Costa Canyon High School students Justin Lee as Bobby Strong and Mary Potter as Hope Cladwell in the 2024 spring musical, “Urinetown.” Courtesy photo.

“I’ve been doing theatre since I was five years old and I love performing,” Papazian said. “I love working with my peers and the thrill of performing.”

Justin Lee, a sophomore who portrayed Bobby Strong, has earned the distinction of being named one of the top 10 male performers in San Diego. He will represent LCC at the Broadway San Diego Awards.

According to the school, the LCC theatre department also boasts some talented leaders. Aside from Golden, the team consists of Music Director Craig Johnson serves on the voice faculty at the esteemed Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and Choreographer Kevin “Blax” Burroughs, who is both a professional performer and the artistic director of the Oceanside Theatre Company. 

As the year draws to a close, the theatre department is preparing to celebrate their seniors with final long-form and short-form improv performances, including a banquet to honor graduates.

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