By Robert Simonson
13 Jun 2001
|Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus|
The last two weeks of the musical Urinetown's Off-Broadway run will see a couple cast changes. Hunter Foster, who plays the earnest, fresh-scrubbed urinal attendant Bobby Strong, will depart on June 11. Marcus Lovett will take up Foster's scrub brush on June 13. Also, Megan Lawrence, who plays Strong's fellow revolutionary Little Becky Two-Shoes, will leave at the same time. Jennifer Cody, recently seen helping out the Cat in the Hat in Seussical, will be her replacement.
Strong sings such songs as the love duet "Follow Your Heart" and the mock-spiritual anthem "Run, Freedom, Run." Foster is expected to return to the role when Urinetown reopens on Broadway in August. The actor is taking a break from the show to work on Summer of 42, a musical for which he wrote the book. Summer will have a pre-New York run in Palo Alto, CA.
Lawrence has an even better excuse for taking a leave of absence. In case audiences haven't noticed, the actress has been pregnant throughout the entire Off-Broadway run. She is now on maternity leave and will return to the Broadway engagement in late October.
In other news, John Cullum will forego playing King Lear in San Francisco this fall in order to move to Broadway with the current Off Broadway company of Urinetown, the musical spoof of musical theatre, a spokesman said.
The neo-Brechtian musical comedy is now aiming toward a first preview in August — rather than the previously announced July — at Broadway's Henry Miller's Theatre, on 43rd Street. In order to allow for proper teching of the show in the new space and owing to some issues inside the long dormant Henry Miller's (there are no seats there at the moment) producers decided to not begin previews in July. Opening is likely for late August or September, a spokesman said.
The little show that started at the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival and grew to its current Off-Broadway test run at American Theatre for Actors, will be the first new Broadway musical of the 2001-2002 season. A cast album has been recorded by RCA; the release date is July 24 (pushed back from July 10).
Cullum, the Tony Award-winning actor once of Shenandoah and On the Twentieth Century, 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 in the well-received new tuner by Mark Hollmann (music and lyrics) and Greg Kotis (book and lyrics).
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.
Also in the cast are Nancy Opel, well known from various David Ives plays, as Ms. Pennywise; Ken Jennings, the original Toby in Sweeney Todd; and Jennifer Laura Thompson, the female lead in Footloose, as Caldwell's naive daughter. Urinetown is produced by Araca Group and Dodger Theatricals.
Among the spunky, tongue-in-cheek songs are the title tune ("This is Urinetown!/Your ticket should say Urinetown!/No refunds, this is Urinetown!"), "Snuff that Girl," "A Privilege to Pee," "The Cop Song," "What Is Urinetown?," "Run, Freedom, Run" and "Don't Be the Bunny" (a Cullum number).