‘Urinetown’ parodies more serious musicals
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media July 27, 2012 11:46AM
◆ July 27-Aug. 5
◆ Cosman Theater, 12015 Mill St., Huntley
◆ Tickets, $17-$20
◆ (847) 931-4233
Updated: October 22, 2012 6:07PM
If you can get past the title, you’ll be in for a fun musical that tweaks serious ones.
So promises Dave Hunter, director of the upcoming musical “Urinetown” by GreenRoom Productions. “Urinetown” will be shown July 27 to Aug. 5 at the Cosman Theater in Huntley. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. July 28 and 28, and Aug. 3 and 4; and at 3 p.m. July 29 and Aug. 5.
“First of all, it’s a giant parody on musical theater in general,” he said. “All throughout the show, it’s making fun of the musical genre and how it operates. But at the same time, it’s a musical itself.”
“Urinetown” was nominated for nine Tony awards including Best Musical in 2002; and won three, including Best Direction for John Rando. It’s about a town suffering from a water shortage. The shortage leads to a rich executive, who controls the town’s water, charging people to use public restrooms. So oppressed poor people have pay to pee.
A protagonist decides he’s not going to save his pennies to pee, so he leads a revolt. The typical ingénue and love story follow complete with a wise older cop character doing the narration to a little girl sometime in the future.
“A lot of the lines the characters have are … saying the same things you’ve heard in other musicals,” he said. “The musical numbers are making fun of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ or ‘Les Miz’ or ‘West Side Story.’ It uses some of the same choreography and musical styles as those … to kind of poke fun at it. It’s an absolutely hilarious show.”
He understands why people are turned off by the title of the show. He wants to assure folks they aren’t going to get an evening of potty humor.
“The premise is they pay to pee, but that’s where the premise ends,” he said. “It’s a bad title for a show and they make fun of it in the show. But the reality of it is it might keep people away from seeing it, and that would be a big mistake.”
He has had “Urinetown” on his radar for about three years, he said.
“We did ‘The Sound of Music’ last year for our summer show, and we wanted to change it up from year to year,” he said. “So we’re doing this modern comedy show, rather than this classic Rogers and Hammerstein show.”
His cast, he said, is doing fantastic. His young college kids love it because it’s young and hip, he said. Additionally, he has a new, young choreographer, and a live orchestra.
Expect to laugh long and hard, he said.
“There is some amazing ensemble singing and choreography, and (people will) be surprised at how good this show is,” he said.