Davis Musical Theater Company’s latest production of the Broadway hit, Urinetown: The Musical, a satirical comedy with an absurd premise and deadpan dark humor, will be showing Friday through March 17.
Based on the book by Greg Kotis, Urinetown takes place in a near-future, post-apocalyptic world where the water shortages are so severe that private bathrooms are unheard of. All bathroom spaces are patrolled by the megacorporation Urine Good Company, which enforces harsh laws that require everyone to pay to urinate, or else they are sent to Urinetown, never to return.
The musical pokes fun at government bureaucracy, corporate industries and Broadway musicals themselves through parodying them in almost every scene.
Steve Isaacson, the director of DMTC’s Urinetown and co-founder and producer of DMTC, described the musical as “theatre of the absurd, not absurd theatre,” and discussed how the premise came to be.
“Greg Kotis went to Europe for vacation and discovered that you must pay to use the bathrooms there. He thought this was a great idea for a comedic musical and immediately began writing, not believing it would ever be performed,” Isaacson said.
Originally, Urinetown began as a Fringe Theater production in New York, and made its Broadway debut in 2001. In 2002, it won Tony awards for best book, musical score and direction of a musical.
Isaacson discussed how Urinetown has satirical references to well-known Broadway musicals and how he has added several unique innovations of his own to his production.
“The musical spoofs everything — From other musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Annie, Oliver and many others. It takes references, such as specific names and wordplay, from Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera,” Isaacson said. “This is one of the most brilliantly written shows out there.”
Cassie March, an actress in Urinetown, discussed what she liked best about acting in this satirical comedy while wearing her ragged dress and voluminous pigtails during a dress rehearsal.
“I play Little Sally, an 8-year-old, and she has incredibly smart, quick-witted lines. I love playing this role because she has a grungy look and spirit, and I get to participate in the dark humor of the musical as a co-narrator,” March said.
DMTC is an all-volunteer-based nonprofit organization and welcomes donations and contributions from anyone interested in theater. Stage props are made by both amateur and professional artists, and Isaacson discussed what the props and sets are like for Urinetown.
“We went with a simple approach for our sets. Our main prop is the communal urinal, which is a dirty brick wall covered in stains and littered with garbage, which was made by volunteer artists,” Isaacson said.
The cast consists of locally based actors with diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. Richard Spierto, an actor in Urinetown, discussed the benefits of having a diverse cast.
“DMTC has a real sense of community because it welcomes everyone from all levels of acting. We all learn from each other because people of different ages and backgrounds bring forth different ideas and suggestions, and these contributions make the performance stronger,” Spierto said.
Its witty writing and self-deprecating humor makes for a pee-your-pants production.
“The best way to describe this musical is, ‘Terrible title, terrific show,’” Isaacson said.
Tickets are $18 regular admission and $16 for students and seniors. For more information, visit DMTC’s website at www.dmtc.org.
CRISTINA FRIES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.