Miss Pennywise, we hardly knew ye.
Nancy Opel, who originated the Broadway role of a salty public amenities officer in the musical comedy, Urinetown, is taking a three-month leave of absence beginning Jan. 26, 2003, but the stall door has been left open for her to return in late April.
Victoria Clark, remembered for her work in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Titanic, will step into the stained shoes of Miss Pennywise, who sings "It's a Privilege to Pee" in the Tony-winning show at the Henry Miller Theatre. Opel is said to be joining the cast of David Ives' Polish Joke for Manhattan Theatre Club.
On the eve of the Dec. 4 500th performance of Urinetown, a spokesman for the show also confirmed Jennifer Laura Thompson (who plays Hope Cladwell) will also take a 10-week leave from the show Dec. 29, aiming to return March 18, 2003. Her replacement is not known. Tony nominee Thompson is swimming over to Michael John LaChiusa's Little Fish, being produced by Second Stage.
Hunter Foster is expected to remain in Urinetown as Bobby Strong through March, after which he's expected to play Seymour in the Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors. Stalwart John Cullum, who was Tony nommed for playing the blissfully venal businessman Caldwell B. Cladwell, remains in Urinetown, as does Jeff McCarthy as Officer Lockstock.
The week of Nov. 25, Urinetown had its best box office week yet, grossing $372,186 — $14,000 under the gross potential.