Now in its second week of a three-week run Urinetown: the Musical is making a real splash with lakecity theatre-goers.
Last Saturday night’s performance was sold out and the river of enthusiasm for the production continues to bubble up this week.
On the surface the musical is hilarious, filled with great songs, silly little dances, and larger than life characters.
But down deep there is more, much more.
There is an undercurrent of pain, a river of emotion streaming through Urinetown as it strives to recover from the Stinky Days when the water ran out.
This musical spoof laps at the shores of our capacity for greed, catches us hook-line and sinker in the quagmire of human nastiness, and flushes us out again.
After watching this production the first time, I felt as though I had been cast up and left high, and not so dry, on the muddy shores of reality.
The reflections of civil struggle between haves and have-nots felt a little too close to home with the storm now brewing between Russian and Ukraine that threatens to suck us into yet another vortex of war.
And yet there were signs of hope, or was that hopelessness. In the end it was hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys — but you knew things could be much better if the smart people controlling the water taps worked with a tsunami of heart instead of a desert of greed.
But, alas if you aren’t into politics, just take this satirical little musical as it is, showcasing some great vocals, interesting characters, a surface tension of romantic love, and lots of giggles.
And have fun trying, if you can, to pinpoint Urinetown references to some of the great musicals of all time such as Westside Story, and Riverboat.
And surely take home an ocean lessons about the need to seriously conserve and protect our fresh and salt water supplies for humans and animals alike.
Writers Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis must have had a great deal of fun bringing these lessons to the public in this satirical way, poking fun at, and making
powerful statements about, capitalism, socialism, corporate mismanagement, bureaucracy and social irresponsibility.
It challenges us to think, think, think, on ways to prevent the cultural loss of our water rights.
Don’t over-use water; don’t let big corporations control this precious resource; don’t let bottled water be the only source of water left on the planet to drink.
It is a timely production brilliantly brought to the stage just in time for World Water Day last week by director Jay Goddard, choreographer Becky Strickland and choral director Sandi Alaric and a stellar cast of new and seasoned Studio Theatre actors and an incredible back stage crew. The plumbing is a remarkable trick to the eye.