'Urinetown': Not your typical musical

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2008

Come ready to laugh and confront contemporary issues all at once when the Catawba College Theatre Arts Department presents “Urinetown: The Musical” in Hedrick Theatre on campus at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11-12, and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 13-15.
Fans of programs like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” and the movies of Christopher Guest (“Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman”) will revel in this brilliant satire, created by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis.
Imagine a world where it is literally a privilege to urinate, where there are no private restrooms and where everyone has to scrounge for enough money to use a public toilet.
Such is the state of affairs in the fictional, highly-stylized world of “Urinetown: The Musical.”
In the stage world of “Urinetown,” a wealthy few monopolize the water consumption of the town under the iron fist of the seemingly sinister chief executive officer of Urine Good Company (UGC), Caldwell B. Cladwell. Most of the town’s residents struggle to scrape together money to pay for each trip to the toilet until a new fee hike is instituted by a corrupt political system. A janitor at one of the “amenities,” Bobby Strong, leads the poor into rebellion against the UGC, determined to have everyone pee for free. When he learns that his new love, Hope, is the daughter of the evil Caldwell B. Cladwell, Bobby must decide between a budding romance and unregulated urination.
“Urinetown: The Musical” not only confronts weighty issues like corporate corruption, environmental conservation and preservation, civil rights, and classicism, but it also bulldozes over the conventions of musical theater.
Greeted with some exposition by the narrator, Officer Lockstock, the audience will soon realize this is not a musical from the books of Rodgers and Hammerstein. While parodying such great musicals as “West Side Story,” “Les Miserables,” and “Carousel,” the show also reaches back to the essays of Robert Malthus and 18th century theories on populations and their subsistence.
Tickets for “Urinetown” are $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and non-Catawba students and group rates are available.
For more details, contact the Catawba College Theatre box office at 704-637-4481.