Review of Urinetown at Lyric Arts
Quote of the Day: Urinetown is your town if you’re hopeless down and out. lyrics from Urinetown: the Musical, from the song What is Urinetown? Playing now through April 2, 2017, at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Anoka, MN.
So, you might be wondering, What is Urinetown? It’s a fairly modern musical about sustainability of our natural resources, taxation of basic needs, greed, oppression, resistance, uprising, and since it’s a musical, a little romance between the two classes. As you can imagine it is filled with bathroom humor, social satire, and zany characters. It has the feel of a cartoon, like Animaniacs, or Keystone Cops. It’s fun, and funny, and gives you something to think about. The music is terrific, and the lyrics are witty. And, from one of the opening numbers, It’s the oldest story, the masses are oppressed.
Lyric Arts Marketing & Development Manager Amy Maloney invited the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers to the Sunday, March 12, performance, where we also got the chance to have a post-play discussion with the cast. They clearly enjoy working together in creating this dry and wacky world. Their director Matt McNabb, whom they praise for his comedic timing, told them to go all out with their characterization. “We might have been told to pull back a little, once in a while if it got too big,” said Michael Conroy who plays Tiny Tom and Dr. Bileaux. They all made their characters distinct, using their full body, voice, and expression to bring them to life. They were so much fun to watch. It didn’t matter where I looked, someone was doing something interesting. It’s a great show to be in the ensemble as everyone has a unique part, and many numbers are designed for several in the cast and feature a variety of characters/singers.
Urinetown: the Musical began its theatrical life at the New York Fringe Festival. Greg Kotis got the idea for the musical while traveling in Europe and having to deal with the pay-per-use public toilet system. He teamed up with Mark Hollman who wrote the lyrics and music. It premiered on Broadway in 2001 and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning Best Score, Best Book, and Best Direction of a Musical. It’s been done at various theaters throughout the Twin Cities, but this was my first time seeing it.
If you’ve never seen this musical before, go to Lyric Arts and be prepared to laugh ’til you wet your pants, or rather, hold it until intermission, or when the show is over. Bring extra change for the pay-to-pee bucket (free-will donation). If you have seen this show, you know how great it is. The score really is Tony Award-Winning, and Lyric Arts Main Street Stage brings out all the best of this twisted and absurd tale of drought, potty lines, division, and decline of society. It was so well cast, I can’t imagine anyone doing it better. It has a sort of unexpected and disturbing ending, but what would you expect from a musical with a song like Privilege to Pee in it?
The set design was spectacular, Gabe, with such attention to detail. The costumes, lighting, and all that goes into creating this world were wonderful. The musicians, under the direction of Elise Beckel Santa, were terrific. Thanks for making my first trip to Urinetown so enjoyable and entertaining!
Does anyone have any spare change, I really gotta go! Those potty lines at the theater can be deadly!
Check out reviews by the other Twin Cities Theater Bloggers who were at this performance:
Urinetown: the Musical, playing through April 2, 2017, at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Anoka, MN.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Where do you see greed, injustice, and oppression in your community?