Telluride Theatre: "Urinetown, The Musical"

Poster_smaller (2)“Urinetown” & Telluride Theatre, the backstory:

The Declaration of Independence made it very clear: life, liberty –  and the pursuit of a toilet are among man’s inalienable (read “natural”) rights, right?

Well, only maybe…

Perhaps not in a dystopian world.

Which could be right around the corner.

To put the cold facts in perspective, the latest research on global warming suggests that if the world warms by just 2 °C above the present level, which now seems all but unavoidable by 2100, up to one-fifth of the global population could suffer severe shortages of water, and all that relies on a steady supply of same, from food to sanitation and public health, could be severely compromised.

With severe water shortages, all hell could break loose.

Or everyone could break out in song.

“Urinetown, the Musical” is a satirical comedy set in a Gotham-like city overwrought by ecological disaster, where it is no longer free to pee. A water shortage has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets, and the privilege to pee is regulated by a single, malevolent corporation, which profits by charging admission for one of mankind’s most basic needs.

A tale of greed, corruption, love and, mostly, revolution, “Urinetown” mocks our legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics. The show is also a parody of the Really Big Musicals such as “Les Mis” – and the Broadway musical itself as a form. With climate change in the headlines, the hilarious spoof also comes perilously close to today’s truth.

New York’s International Fringe Festival, a showcase for outrageous productions, birthed “Urinetown” in 1999. “Urinetown” went on to become the first Fringe production ever to make it to the Great White Way, opening September 20 2001. That’s just nine days after 9/11, when America lost its innocence. Overnight, all bets were off as to what could or could not happen in our world.

Timing is everything.

“Urinetown” went on to win hearts and minds – and three TONYs (in 2002) out of 10 nominations: Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Direction of a Musical. The production also won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. The character of the “revolutionary” Bobby Strong, the male lead, was included on New York Theatre Monthly’s list of “The 100 Greatest Roles in Musical Theatre.”

Telluride Theatre’s winter blockbuster is “Urinetown.” The production takes place Tuesday, March 11 through Saturday, March 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, 4 p.m. at the Palm Theatre.

Cat Lee-Covert and Caroline Grace Moore, two of our actors, brought the show to the attention of Telluride Theatre’s artistic sub-committee, which meets to decide what we’ll do for the season,” explained Telluride Theatre’s artistic director Sasha Sullivan. “And the production is tailor-made for Telluride. It is hilarious, with political undertones, as satire of the environmental movement, greedy corporations and theatre itself. With amazing music, a genius comedic script, how could I say no? As a director, I have fallen more in love with ‘Urinetown” each day and we are so excited to share this oh-so-relevant play with our audience.”

Cast & crew of “Urinetown”:

"Urinetown" rehearsal, with  female lead, Cat Covert at the center of the heap

“Urinetown” rehearsal, with female lead, Caroline Grace Moore at the center of the heap. Image by Sarah Sowab.

Directed by Sasha Sullivan

Vocal Direction – Anna Robinson

Music Direction – Ethan Hale, Bobbie Shaffer

Choreography – Lyndia Peralta

Set Design – Scott Harris

Costume Design – Melissa Harris

Lighting – Tree Priest

Featuring:

Cat Lee Covert, Ethan Hale, Joshua Hodorff, Kristine Hilbert, Buff Hooper, Danielle Jenkins, Lily Jeong, Bria Light, Peter Lundeen, Mitch Mishky, Caroline Grace Moore, Olivia Myerson, Anna Robinson, Dino Ruggeri, Pamela Sante, Bob Saunders, Sarah Schwab, Maria Stauder, Colin Sullivan, Susan Thompson, James Van Hooser, Clint Viebrock.

How to see the show:

"Urinetown," cast portrait

“Urinetown,” cast portrait, by Scott Upshur.

Fun for the whole family! Rated PG.

To buy tickets – adults $15 and students $10 – visit telluridetheatre.org/tickets or call 970-708-3934.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my chat with Sasha.

 

Telluride Theatre: 2014 at a glance:

“Burlesque”

Wednesday, March 26, Friday, March 28 & Saturday, March 29:

Cheap Thrills, March 26. One night only!

House of Shimmy Shake presents Mystic Caravan. March 28 & 29

Shakespeare in the Park: 

“Much Ado About Nothing”

Town Park Stage

Saturday, July 19 – July 26

Bread & Circus, an original show

Venue to be announced

Sunday, August 17 – Friday, August 22

“Rocky Horror Picture Show”: 

The Palm Theatre

Friday, October 24

Holiday Show TBD:

Venue to be announced

Wednesday, December 17 – Sunday, December 21

To become a member of Telluride Theatre, visit telluridetheatre.org/support

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