So something was sparked a few years ago when theater program director Alex Perez took some of his students to see the Tony-winning "Urinetown: The Musical," when it was still on Broadway.
The show is based around a mythical small town, and how poor people try to survive the "Stink Years," which is another term for a depression. The government decides to "make" money by forcing people to use public pay toilets, which they control.
If they get caught using anything other than the public pay toilets, like say, a tree or a bush, then they are sent to Urinetown, a mysterious place.
"It's definitely the most challenging play we've done," said Perez, who will direct the High Tech production of "Urinetown: The Musical," which opens Wednesday night for six performances.
Not really about urine
Perez said, "There are so many nuances to this show. There's humor and music and we're managing to balance both. I just remember seeing the show on Broadway and saying halfway through it, 'This is a show we have to do.' Now, we're doing it."
And High Tech is the first high school theater group to receive the rights to do the show from its creative team, headed by famed director John Rando, now directing the musical version of "The Wedding Singer" for Broadway.
"It's definitely the funniest production we've done," Perez said. "With the similarities that are going on in the world today, I felt it was an important story to be told."
The cast has had a blast rehearsing hard.
"It's a big cast, about 20 students," Perez said. "When you add the crew, it's about 35 kids involved."
Graham Davie, a junior, plays the hero of the show, Bobby Strong. Davie has been working hard to become a part of the musical theater program at the school, taking personal voice lessons.
"When I'm not playing soccer, I'm taking lessons," Davie said. "I didn't expect that I'd get the lead. I didn't expect a part this big. I was really excited. I saw the play on Broadway and it is hilarious. It's a fun show to do. I like the show because it's an underdog story and everyone loves an underdog story."
Carlos Cruz, a North Bergen native and also a junior, plays Mr. Cladwell, who is the enemy. It's been hard to be a nemesis of Davie, because the two are best friends.
"Everyone tells me that I'm such a sweetheart and now I have to be a bad guy," Cruz said. "I'm been trying to get into the role, but it's been hard for me and hard because I'm against Graham. I'm also turning myself into a middle-aged man, so it's been a challenge. We've been working hard to sell the play, because everyone sees the title and thinks it's bad. I have to explain what it's all about."
Gia Zampella, a senior from Jersey City, portrays Hope.
"It's definitely difficult to get over the stereotype that people have about the show," Zampella said. "They just hear the title and they cringe. But we're letting people know what the show is about, selling the good points of the show. It's been a real challenge for me, because this is my first big acting role."
Perez said that the two evening shows on Friday and Saturday night have already sold out, so there is more than curiosity.
"We never did a Wednesday show, so we're giving people more chances to see it," Perez said. "I think they'll enjoy it."
And not want to run to the bathroom.
A few years ago, the students put on a production of "Oz" that was unlike the children's story, "The Wizard of Oz." The production was named the best overall musical in the state that year.
Last year, the students put on "Batboy: The Musical," based on the story of a mythical character who was regularly featured in the pages of the supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. The production won a host of awards for direction and earned student Joe Gehrmann the award as Best Actor in New Jersey.
So when it comes to traditional, the High Tech theater program is far from that. You won't see "Grease," "Guys and Dolls" or "Oklahoma!" being performed by the students at High Tech.
"We definitely have a tendency to push the envelope a little," said Perez, the director of the High Tech musical theater program for the last seven years. "We don't do the plays that other high schools would do."
Perez said there is a lot to like in Urinetown.
"I remembered that the humor was so witty and the music was so catchy," Perez said. "You leave the theater humming the songs. The music was the selling point in my eyes."
But now, before the students at the school could do the show, Perez had to sell the idea to school principal Karol Brancato.
"She said it the way it sounds," Perez said. "She said, 'You're In Town? I never heard of that show.' But actually, that's a great play on words, because that's what the play is all about. It really has nothing to do with urine."
He added, "I made sure that Ms. Brancato listened to the sound track, because the music really pays homage to the great American musical. The only controversial thing about the show is the title."
The High Tech High School production of "Urinetown: The Musical," will take place at the school's theater beginning Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Friday and Saturday night shows are sold out. The show will be performed Thursday at 7, as well as Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are priced at $15. For further information, call the High Tech theater program at (201) 854-2903.