"An exhilarating, don't-miss experience. . . the funniest, most tuneful show in town."

-- Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


To close its sixteenth season with a big yellow splash, New Line Theatre

proudly yanked this subversive, smartass musical satire away from respectable stages and slammed it back right where it began, in a funky blackbox space -- this time, St. Louis' own ArtLoft Theatre.

WATCH NEW LINE'S PROMO ON YOUTUBE.COM and read the rave review from the Post Dispatch!

Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis' URINETOWN is the outrageous fable of greed, corruption, love, revolution, and urination, in a time when water is worth its weight in gold and there's no such thing as a free pee. Set in a near-future dystopian Gotham, a severe 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens are forced to use public "amenities" now, regulated by a single malevolent company (probably through a no-bid government contract) that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. In this nightmare world, the punishment for an unauthorized pee is a trip to the dreaded URINETOWN. But from the ruins of Democracy and courtesy flushes, there rises an unlikely hero who decides he's held it long enough, and he launches a People's Revolution to lead them all to urinary freedom!

Inspired by the outrageous political theatre of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and (very) loosely based on the writings of late eighteenth-century political and economic theorist Thomas Malthus, URINETOWN is a gloriously silly, irreverently truthful satire from which no target is safe.

This is a show that catapults musical comedy into the new millennium with its rule-shattering tear through the traditions and conventions of musical theatre, leaving nothing but uncontrollable laughter and a great big puddle in its wake.

And that's just Act I.

The cast of Urinetown included Matthew Korinko (Officer Lockstock), Amy Leone (Little Sally), Khnemu Menu-Ra (Bobby Strong), Isabel Pastrana (Hope Cladwell), Jeffrey Pruett (Caldwell B. Cladwell), Deborah Sharn (Penelope Pennywise) Scott Tripp (Joseph Strong/Hot Blades Harry), Aaron Allen (Mr. McQueen), Zachary Allen Farmer (Tiny Tom), Joseph Garner (Officer Barrel), Leah Myers Giessing (Josephine Strong), Cale Haupert (Robbie the Stockfish), Nicholas Kelly (Senator Fipp), Aaron Lawson (Billy Boy Bill), Katie Nestor (Becky Two-Shoes), and Michelle Sauer (Soupy Sue).

The production staff included Scott Miller (director), Trisha Bakula (asst. director), Robin Michelle Berger (choreographer), Chris Petersen (music director), G.P. Hunsaker (set designer), Seth Ward Pyatt (lighting designer), Russell Bettlach (costume designer), and Vicki Herrman (props master).


Want to explore more? We recommend:

The 2001 Original Off-Broadway cast recording, the published script, and the piano music

The official Urinetown website, and Urinetown's history and awards

Background and analysis of the show by director Scott Miller, author of the new book Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre

"Urinetown Confidential," from the Feb. 2003 issue of American Theatre magazine

The Urinetown Dramaturgy webpage, with some good research materials, from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Also, several interesting articles about the show on the Northern State University website

Two articles on Epic Theatre and German Expressionism, two primary influences on Urinetown

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus, the 1798 philosophical and politico-economic treatise that is the basis for Urinetown (no kidding!) -- or here's the ENTIRE TEXT of his essay online!

An article, "Population, Resources, and Human Idealism," from EnergyBulletin.net

The brilliant, beautiful 1983 film Koyaanisqatsi ("life out of balance") about humans' relationship to the earth

CNN's webpage on climate change, Changing Earth, with tons of resources, plus links to St. Louis environmental and conservation websites

Has Urinetown's 20-year drought already begun?

A four-minute clip of the original Urinetown cast performing "Run Freedom Run" on the Tony Awards; and the two original leads singing "Follow Your Heart," both from Google Video



Leaping Lizards Performing Arts Studio
(owned and operated by New Line choreographer Robin Berger)

The music in [contemporary musicals] amplifies this element of separation, licensing us to stand apart from what we are seeing and enter a third dimension where each of us can individually decide whether to take the plot literally or sardonically, whether to take offense or simply collapse in giggles. This degree of Ironic Detachment is the very making of the postmodern hit musical. Ironic Detachment would be unattainable in a Tom Stoppard play because I.D. requires musical inflexion; it is impossible in opera and ballet, which are stiffened by tradition against self-mockery. Its application is unique to the musical comedy, an ephemeral entertainment which has found new relevance through its philosophical engagement with 21st century concepts of irony and alienation. Norman Lebrecht, arts columnist


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