With such an…unusual…title, many people find themselves asking, “What is Urinetown?” So as we approach the opening next week, here’s a little history on the show!
A musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself. The musical takes place in an undisclosed city. For decades, a serious drought has inflicted society with vast poverty, although callous business tycoons such as the main antagonist Cladwell B. Cladwell, have made a fortune through bribery and the monopolization of restrooms. All toilets have become property of his corporation “Urine Good Company.” A brutal police force maintains order, sending violators of the law to a place called “Urinetown.”
Greg Kotis, who wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics for the show, had the idea for Urinetown while traveling in Europe. A traveling student on a budget, he encountered a pay-per-use toilet, and began writing shortly thereafter, joining with Mark Hollmann, who wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics.
The journey to Broadway wasn’t easy for this show. At first, nobody was interested in putting this show up. At one point, an experimental theatre group in Chicago agreed to include it in their 1999-2000 season, but eventually those plans fell through. Finally, they were able to produce the show as part of the New York Fringe Festival where it was well-received. This led to an Off Broadway the Off-Broadway stint. Once people realized how clever and funny the show was it was given the opportunity to make the move to Broadway. The show was supposed to open on September 13, 2001, but due to the attacks on September 11th, it was postponed for a week. Finally, on September 20, 2001, Urinetown made its Broadway debut.
The show which nobody wanted to produce at first did so well on Broadway, that it garnered nominations for 9 Tony Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award. The show won the Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Direction of a Musical in 2002. The actress who originated the role of Little Sally from the very beginning also won a Theatre World Award for her performance.
More than a decade after its Broadway run, Urinetown: The Musical is about to make its West End debut! The show will open at the St. James Theatre in London in February 2014.
But you can see it before that! Catch Dominion’s production starting January 10th and running through the 25th! See below for more info!
Fridays > January 10, 17, 24
Saturdays > Jan 11, 18, 25
Thursdays > January 16, 23
All shows start at 8 pm
Music by Mark Hollman
Lyrics by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis
Book by Greg Kotis
Produced by Shawn g. Byers and Richard Isaacs
Directed by Patrick M. Doneghy
Music Direction by Kevin Diana
Choreographed by Richelle Howie and Patrick M. Doneghy
Stage Managed by Christine Farrell
Urinetown, The Musical, satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics. The show also parodies musicals such as The Cradle Will Rock and Les Misérables, and the Broadway musical itself as a form. In reverse pantomime style, the unconventional plotline shatters audience expectations of a somewhat pleasant ending. The character of Bobby Strong was included on New York Theatre Monthly’s list of “The 100 Greatest Roles in Musical Theatre”.
Gunston Theater One
2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington, VA 22206