This play is No. 1!
Sacramento, CA 95823
You’re in luck if you’re looking for a sassy, sophisticated, silly and subversive musical. The cheeky 2002 Tony Award-winning Urinetown’s in our town this spring—at two different venues by two different theater troupes. This pun-filled political satire and musical-genre spoof about a fee-for-pee town ordinance actually is being staged both in Sacramento and Davis. Going No. 1 is River Stage’s version of Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann’s delightfully deviant and naughty musical, with UC Davis’ theatrical run following at the end of May.
River Stage’s Urinetown is a complete treat, from the musical itself to the clever staging and the terrific performances. The secret to the production’s success is that everyone involved keeps their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks while working their butts off to entertain the audience. The talented cast and crew are blessed with a clever, funny and thought-provoking script and witty, hum-able songs.
Urinetown, which started out as fringe theater and then progressed to Broadway in 2001, never lets success go to its head. It still feels spunky and off-kilter, like something from South Park. Part of the fun in this cartoonish theater-of-the-absurd is its playful self-awareness: Characters talk directly to the audience about the musical and all its silliness. Officer Lockstock (Andrew Hutchinson) and Little Sally (Franchesca Jimenez) act as narrators to the story that pokes fun at musical song-and-dance numbers over the decades, while swimming in bawdy bathroom quips and social commentary.
In keeping with Officer Lockstock’s warning that “nothing can kill a show like too much exposition,” (except, as Little Sally points out, “bad subject matter, or a bad title”), the story is set in the near future when drought plagues the land. Politicians and corporate giants corrupt the disaster by passing an ordinance that you have to pay to piss. Urine Good Company has the monopoly on public amenities, and they’ve just raised the fee to pee. There’s a rebel hero (Kevin Caravalho), a love story with a heroine (Maggie Elizabeth May), the wicked wee-mistress (Martha Omiyo Kight), and corrupt corporate creeps and political potty-poopers (Rodger McDonald, Michael Sicilia, and Jim Rollans).
Keeping tight reign over the lavatory levity are director Frank Condon, musical director Steven Coughran (overseeing the live Urinetown Orchestra) and choreographer Pamela Lourentzos. The dynamic cast, combined with a clever story and witty songs, points to a Urinetown that’ll be flush with success.