You’re in for a good time with ‘Urinetown’
First Posted: 3/25/2014
Did you ever laugh so hard you peed your pants? Do you want to, and not be judged for it? After all, the reason you’d be laughing is a show called “Urinetown,” so the bathroom humor is already running rampant.
Despite the fact that it’s a comedy, the name seems to give people some serious pause.
“This is one of those shows where people judge a book by its cover,” said Dana Feigenblatt, director of the Music Box production of “Urinetown,” which opens this weekend. “They say, ‘Ugh, that title,’ and I know, it’s gross, but they actually make reference to the fact that it’s called that several times in the show.”
In fact, “Urinetown” pokes fun not only at itself, but other Broadway big hitters.
“It spoofs every big musical known to man,” Feigenblatt said. “There’s a ‘West Side Story’-type song, ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Les Mis.’ They touch upon everything.”
“Urinetown” is narrated by Officer Lockstock (played by Daniel Pascoe, whose character also has a partner, Officer Barrel, who is played by Jonathan Vojtko) and street urchin Little Sally (played by Eyanna Gruver). The two talk of a town that’s undergoing a 20-year drought, causing water consumption to be controlled by forcing residents to pay to use a public bathroom. If they can’t afford the fee, end up having an “accident,” or break any other strict rule set forth, they are sent away to Urinetown, never to be seen again.
It’s poor versus rich, with the poor being led by Bobby Strong (played by Ben Steltz) and Caldwell B. Cladwell (played by Christian Lynch) representing the richer folk, as he is the owner of Urine Good Company, the entity that enforces the pay-to-pee laws.
“Urinetown is the mysterious part,” Feigenblatt said. “No one knows where it is, though you do eventually find out.”
You will also find plenty of familiar scenarios and songs throughout the show.
“Bobby starts a revolution, the poor against the rich, so the end of Act I is kind of a [‘Les Mis’] ‘One Day More’ moment,” Feigenblatt said. “During the show, they increase fees to use the facilities, which is a tribute to ‘Newsies,’ when they hiked up the prices of the newspaper.”
And what’s a show without romance? Bobby ends up falling for Cladwell’s daughter Hope (played by Ericka Law) and thus enters a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ feeling.
If the silly plot isn’t enough to sell you, there’s always the music to turn to.
“I would say it’s 80 percent songs,” Feigenblatt said, “and they’re all lively ones. There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of singing, and I think this is one of the best scores.”
It’s hard to imagine it isn’t with tunes like “It’s a Privilege to Pee” and “Too Much Exposition.”
Feigenblatt played the role of Little Sally eight years ago and jumped at the chance to switch things up from the last time she did the show when she took on the role of director.
“There’s more of a challenge with the choreography,” she said of the work she’s been doing with her cast of 26. “We did different things, some tributes to the original choreography we saw on Broadway.
“The cast is literally working up a sweat doing the show, but they’re having so much fun doing it. It’s one of those things where you have a really great time, from start to finish.”