Urinetown, the hit underground musical with the unlikely name, which announced a first Broadway preview of Aug. 6 only recently, has now pushed that date back to Aug. 20. The producers gave as a reason necessary physical changes to Henry Miller's Theatre. The show will still open Sept. 10.
Scheduling changes are not new to the Greg Kotis-Mark Hollman musical, which proved a big hit Off-Broadway this spring and early summer. Once the show scored with critics and audiences at the little-known American Theatre of Actors, a 120-seat space at 314 W. 54th Street, it extended until June 30. That extension later inched forward to July 1, only to have the show eventually close on June 25. The neo-Brechtian piece was first announced to re-open on Broadway in late July. Late July, however, became Aug. 6, which is now Aug. 20. The alterations even extended to the RCA cast recording, at first set to be released on July 10 and now expected in stores on Aug. 7.
Finally, one more quirky wrinkle in Urinetown's timeline was reported by Variety on June 27. According to the trade publication, the musical will have to vacate the Henry Miller's in March. "The idea has always been to allow other people to use the theatre as well," said Anita Durst, whose family owns the building. The Durst Organization is already looking for a new occupant for the spring, with a commercial venture by Off-Broadway's Primary Stages mentioned as a possibility. Urinetown producers told Variety they are prepared to leave the Henry Miller's in the spring.
Perhaps this herky-jerky path is only appropriate for the improbable smash, which began life at the Present Company Theatorium on the Lower East Side as part of the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. The show opened at the ATA on May 3 after a month of previews. The show, directed by John Rando, will keep all of its leading players for the Broadway mounting, including John Cullum, Jeff McCarthy, Spencer Kayden (a Clarence Derwent Award-winner) Nancy Opel, Hunter Foster and Jennifer Laura Thompson.
For tickets and information on Urinetown at the Henry Miller's Theatre, 124 West 43 St., call (212) 239-6200.