People start revolutions because they want something that authorities are controlling. Jefferson wanted to declare independence. Norma Rae wanted to improve factories. Katniss wanted to feed masses. Bobby Strong wants to pee free. Circle Theatre presents URINETOWN THE MUSICAL. After the drought created ‘stink years’, the big UGC conglomerate steps in to regulate urination. People are forced to do their private business in public bathrooms. And this necessity reliever comes at a price. When Mr. Strong can’t pay for the privilege, he pisses off the police. He is banished to Urinetown. His son is in agony! Bobby Strong not only fails to save his father, he falls for the persecutor’s daughter. URINETOWN THE MUSICAL is the funniest potty talk ever!
The creative team of Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis take bathroom humor to a whole other level. Hollman and Kotis use pay toilets to ridicule the insensitivity of capitalists for the poor, the corruption of law enforcement and the crazy antics of people that really-really-gotta-go. No one’s safe from this silly sh#t! Hollman and Kotis even make fun of themselves by creating a narrator (Clay Sanderson) and Little Sally (Brooke Sherrod Jaeky) to continually debate the merits of this show. Jaeky innocently asks about inconsistencies and Sanderson patronizes her with this-is-how-musicals-work response. With Sanderson’s commanding voice and Jaeky’s adorability, their shtick is comedy duo perfection.
There is a real vaudeville style to this musical and Director and Choreographer Kevin Bellie flushes it out for pure satisfaction. The show whizzes past with some dazzling footwork and singing by the large ensemble. There’s old school shuffle-ball-chain combined with hip, gangsta dance. The bouncy numbers are high energy spectacles. Costume Designer Jesus Perez adds to the visual with multiple wardrobe changes. Perez separates the classes with apocalyptic rags and corporate uniformity. Putting a little whimsy in both, Perez builds an underlying futuristic vibe.
Musical Director Peter J. Storms conducts the upbeat soundtrack onstage behind the action. The tempo switches from a fun-loving “Don’t be the Bunny” to a soul-searching “I See the River.” It’s powerful and sometimes overpowering. On opening night, there were some microphone issues. Some of it was battling the band but primarily it was battling technology. Most notably for me, Creg Sclavi (Bobby) and Laura Savage’s (Hope) duet was muffled. At one point, Scalvi seemed like he was lip syncing because the volume and tone changed.
Despite the need for some audio tinkling, URINETOWN THE MUSICAL relieves itself with a long stream of pure gold.
Not holding it in, Shawn describes it with ‘fountains of fun.’
Running Time: Two hours and ten minutes includes an intermission
At Circle Theatre, 1010 W. Madison, Oak Park
Music by Mark Hollmann
Book by Greg Kotis
Lyrics by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis
Direction and choreography by Kevin Bellie
Music direction by Peter J. Storms
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru October 23rd