Urinetown Tour Will Make a Splash in Minneapolis, September 2003

News   Urinetown Tour Will Make a Splash in Minneapolis, September 2003 Minneapolis is on the list of the cities that will see the national tour of the Tony Award-winning Urinetown, Sept. 24 Oct. 5.

Minneapolis is on the list of the cities that will see the national tour of the Tony Award-winning Urinetown, Sept. 24 Oct. 5.

The Tony winner for Best Book, Best Score and Best Direction begins its tour June 17, 2003, at the Geary Theatre in San Francisco as part of the American Conservatory Theatre season. The Minneapolis "facility" for the show will be the Orpheum Theatre. Other specific tour dates and venues have not leaked out, but stops for the tour of Urinetown are expected to include Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Cleveland.

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Soon, your town will be Urinetown.

The hit Broadway musical comedy about a futuristic society where water is rationed and the rabble have to pay to use public facilities was nommed for 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The yearlong tour is produced by The Araca Group and Dodger Theatricals with TheatreDreams, Lauren Mitchell and the American Conservatory Theatre.

It is thought that the company will be initially working under a regional theatre contract at ACT and then under a touring production contract once it leaves the city by the bay (similar to how the recent national tour of Proof began at Seattle Repertory Theatre), though details of the contracts have not been announced. The neo-Brechtian musical comedy is by Greg Kotis (book and lyrics) and Mark Hollmann (music and lyrics), with direction by John Rando and choreography by John Carrafa. No casting has been announced.

Designers are Scott Pask (set), Gregory Gale and Jonathan Bixby (costumes) and Brian McDevitt (lighting), who also designed the Broadway staging, currently running at The Henry Miller on Broadway.

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The work began life at the Present Company Theatorium on the Lower East Side as part of the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. Plucked up by commercial producers, the show got a new cast (Spencer Kayden is a holdover), a new creative team (the writers remained) and narrative refinements. It played a 2001 May-July run Off-Broadway — with Tony Award winner John Cullum playing the comic bad guy — and moved to Broadway by September 2001.

The musical satire, considered by many to be the funniest musical this side of The Producers, concerns a futuristic, drought-stricken city where water usage and toilets are controlled by an evil corporation, led by dapper Caldwell B. Cladwell (played by Cullum). The citizens rebel — and dance! — and comedy ensues.

Theatregoers have been debating whether the show is pure entertainment or if it's a deeply political show in the tradition of the work of Bertolt Brecht (whose goal was always to entertain his audience).

Previews began Aug. 27, 2001, 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 9/11 terrorist attacks, and because press had not been able to see the show prior to Sept. 13.

The Broadway company includes Cullum; Hunter Foster as juvenile lead Bobby Strong; Spencer Kayden as a post pubescent orphan waif Little Sally; Jeff McCarthy as corrupt narrator Officer Lockstock; Nancy Opel as Penelope Pennywise and Jennifer Laura Thompson as Hope Cladwell.

Musical direction is by Edward Strauss. Orchestrations are by Bruce Coughlin. A cast album was released by RCA Victor in August 2001.