If Americans living outside New York City are wondering what a show called Urinetown! could be about and how such a title has managed to be a such a hit on Broadway, they won't have to wonder for long. The satiric, ribald musical comedy will have a national tour.
"They've asked me [to do it]," said choreographer John Carrafa. Specific cities and dates have not been established, but "the tour is definite. They're talking about everything, because the show's such a big hit." Carrafa added that productions in Sydney, Australia, and London are also being discussed.
Urinetown, the Musical celebrated its 100th performance at The Henry Miller at the Dec. 16 matinee. Business has been hot for the unlikely, darkly comic musical about a future where use of toilets is controlled by a corporation, and the people are fed up with having to pay for "the privilege to pee." The week ending Dec. 9, the show played 84.65 percent of capacity.
Since its Sept. 20 opening at the historic Henry Miller on 43rd Street, Daniel Marcus (Officer Barrel) was knocked out of the company due to a broken ankle, and Bill Buell (Titanic) joined to replace him Dec. 6. Marcus is expected back in several weeks.
The staging had a summer 2001 run Off-Broadway with the same company, including pregnant Megan Lawrence, who was replaced by Jennifer Cody. Lawrence's maternity leave ends and she re-joins the troupe Jan. 14, 2002. Cody exits Jan. 13, saying goodbye to her co-star and husband, Hunter Foster, who plays romantic juvenile lead, Bobby Strong. *
The musical satire by the heretofore unknown writing team of Greg Kotis (book and lyrics) and Mark Hollmann (music and lyrics) concerns a futuristic, drought-stricken city where water usage and toilets are controlled by an evil corporation, led by Tony Award-winner John Cullum, playing dapper Caldwell B. Cladwell. The citizens rebel — and dance! — and comedy ensues.
Previews began Aug. 27 at the newly refurbished Henry Miller (formerly Henry Miller's Theatre). Opening was originally scheduled for Sept. 13, but producers bumped the official bow to Sept. 20 for reasons related to the national tragedy, and because press had not been able to see the show prior to that opening date.
The company includes Cullum, Foster, Spencer Kayden as Little Sally, Jeff McCarthy as Officer Lockstock, Nancy Opel as Penelope Pennywise and Jennifer Laura Thompson as Hope Cladwell. The production also features David Beach, Jennifer Cody, Rachel Coloff, Rick Crom, John Deyle, Victor W. Hawks, Erin Hill, Ken Jennings, Peter Reardon, Don Richard, Lawrence Street and Kay Walbye.
Designers are Scott Pask (scenic), Jonathan Bixby and Gregory Gale (costumes), Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Jeff Curtis (sound). Musical direction is by Edward Strauss. Orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin.
A cast album was released by RCA Victor in August 2001.
Urinetown was the winner of two 2001 Obie Awards — a special citation for book (Greg Kotis) and lyrics (Greg Kotis, Mark Hollmann) and an award for musical staging (John Carrafa). Spencer Kayden, who plays the role of Little Sally, also received the Clarence Derwent Award for her performance. Urinetown was also nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical.
The Henry Miller is at 124 W. 43rd Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway). For tickets, call (212) 239-6200.
Urinetown previously played at the little-known American Theatre of Actors, a 120-seat space at 314 W. 54th Street. The show became the first new Broadway musical of the 2001-02 season. The work 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, 2001, after a month of previews. The show retains all of its Off-Broadway players for the Broadway mounting, but only Kayden remains from the Fringe staging.
To view Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter interview with John Cullum, click here.