When the government takes over
town toilets, ‘going’ gets tough

AUBURN — “Urinetown,” a wickedly funny satire of greed, love and revolution, opens at Community Little Theatre Friday night, April 6.

It’s a side-splitting and touchingly honest musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself.

The story takes place in a time when water is worth its weight in gold.

Heading the cast is Cameron Ramich who portrays Assistant Urinal Custodian Bobby Strong. He collects fees that the poor must pay each morning and evening to use the government-controlled toilet facilities. If people attempt to avoid the fees, such as going behind a bush, they are arrested and sent to Urinetown.

The dreaded destination is a mystery. Is it an actual place, or is it a euphemism for death?

Everyone in power is corrupt, from Penelope Pennywise (played by Ashleigh St. Pierre), who is in charge of the local urinal, to the police (Jason Pelletier and Owen Kane), and the politicians (Mitch Thomas and Lucy Poland) — all the way up to Caldwell B. Caldwell (Dan Kane), the president and owner of Urine Good Company (UGC), which has a monopoly on all urinals.

Caldwell’s greed has no limits. He is seeking to impose another rate hike for the use of the facilities. One day, Bobby’s father (Cody Watson) violates the law and is sent to Urinetown.

Bobby meets and falls in love with Hope (Jordan Payne Hay), who turns out to be Caldwell’s daughter. Bobby leads a revolt to circumvent the fee. Police are called, and Bobby and the rebels take Hope prisoner and flee underground.

Add to this a bunch of rebels (McKayla Prophett, Aaron Louque, Jake Boyce, Sophie Wood, Becca Tinkham, Stefanie Lynn, Maxwell Draper, Mason Lagasse, Gregory Judd, Danica Hemond, Carley Georgen, Hayden Thomas, Sarah Wing, Kiya Caron and Ansley Watson), and a few members of the UGC (Lynn O’Donnell, Margaret Brown, Kaitlyn Prophett, Olivia Dubois and Charlotte Morin) and chaos ensues.

“Urinetown” features some rousing musical numbers, such as “Run, Freedom, Run” and “I See a River.” Other numbers include “Too Much Exposition,” “It’s a Privilege to Pee,” “Cop Song,” “Follow Your Heart,” “Look at the Sky,” “Tell Her I Love Her,” and “Don’t Be the Bunny.”

A Broadway hit from 2001, “Urinetown” won three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards.

The show features music by Mark Hollmann and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, with book by Greg Kotis.

Kotis had the idea for “Urinetown” while traveling in Europe. A student on a budget, he encountered a pay toilet which sparked the play’s premise, and he began writing shortly thereafter, joining with Mark Hollmann for the journey to Broadway.

Initially, no production companies were interested in optioning the musical, but the New York International Fringe Festival accepted the show. It later opened Off-Broadway at the American Theatre for Actors, transferring to Broadway in September 2001.

The show contained several references which could prove offensive. Ultimately, only one line was removed from the script.

It ran through Jan. 18, 2004, totaling 25 previews and 965 performances. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won three.

This production is being directed by Kay Warren. Nicole Chase is assistant director. The show is produced by Brandon Chaloux and choreographed by Jake Boyce. Rebecca Caron is musical director.

Performances of “Urinetown” are at LA Community Little Theatre Great Falls Performing Arts Center, are Friday and Saturday, 6 and 7 and Thursday through Saturday, April 12-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, April 8 and 15, at 2 p.m.

Tickets, priced at $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for students are available at the box office at 783-0958 or on CLT’s  website at www.laclt.com.

In a scene from “Urinetown,” the policeman at left is Owen Kane; center is Cameron Ramich who portrays the lead character, Bobby Strong and at right is Jason Pelletier the second policeman.

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