Urinetown, the hit underground musical with the unlikely name, closed its extended Off-Broadway run at the American Theatre of Actors space June 25 in preparation for its Broadway debut, Sept. 10. Performances begin Aug. 6 for this one-time New York International Fringe Festival smash by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann.
The show began its commercial life on April 1 at the little-known ATA, a 120-seat space at 314 W. 54th Street. Opening night on May 3 was greeted with a chorus of huzzahs, for composers Kotis and Hollman, director John Rando and cast members John Cullum, Jeff McCarthy, Spencer Kayden (a Clarence Derwent Award-winner) Nancy Opel, Hunter Foster and Jennifer Laura Thompson, all of whom are returning for the Broadway run. David Beach, Jennifer Cody, Rachel Coloff, Rick Crom, John Deyle, Victor W. Hawks, Ken Jennings, Megan Lawrence, Daniel Marcus, Lawrence Street and Kay Walbye comprise the remaining cast.
Designing the show are Scott Pask (set), Jonathan Bixby and Gregory Gale (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Jeff Curtis (sound). Edward Strauss serves as musical director, with Bruce Coughlin providing orchestrations, according to spokespersons at Boneau/Bryan-Brown.
Observers wholly expected the satirical piece — about a futuristic, neo Brechtian land where you have to pay for "the privilege to pee" — to transfer to a larger Off-Broadway house. Instead, it shot straight to Broadway, booking Henry Miller's Theatre, the former home of Cabaret. A CD recording of the show was released on RCA Victor on Aug. 7.
The 1918 Henry Miller's Theatre, for many years not used as a theatre, came back to legitimate life in 1998 when it was rechristened the Kit Kat Klub and made the base of the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Cabaret (which has since moved on to Studio 54). With the advent of Cabaret, the Miller was re-recognized by the Tony Awards Administration Committee as a Broadway house. A spokesperson at the League of American Theatres and Producers confirmed on May 16 that the Miller remains a Tony-eligible house. Thus, Urinetown may end up the unlikely recipient of nominations or even awards at the end of the 2001-02 Broadway season. Two-time Tony-winner John Cullum opted to forego playing King Lear in San Francisco this fall in order to move to Broadway with Urinetown. Cullum was set to play Lear Sept. 15-Oct. 7 for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival but chose to continue as the corporate villain Caldwell B. Cladwell.
For tickets and information on Urinetown at the Henry Miller Theatre, 124 West 43 St., call (212) 239-6200.