I thought Urinetown was a Broadway musical, and indeed it was. However, thanks to Wikipedia, I found that it started its life in the Fringe circuit in 2001. So yay for Fringe, once again.
The idea of a behemoth corporation that forces people to pay to pee is actually not that hard to believe in this era where economic inequality is increasing. I wondered, in fact, if Urinetown was inspired by the Water War in Bolivia in 2000. In that case, the Bolivian government privatized the public water supply, and prices for water soared, to the extent that for a poor family, the water they needed would take up to 75% of their income. I strongly recommend the film “Tambien La Lluvia (Even the Rain)” which uses a very interesting cinematic form (a quasi-meta-documentary) to tell this story. I have not found any direct link, but I did find a blurb that said this musical is inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.
And, of course, for much of the world, safe and available public water supplies just do not exist. Not to mention cases like Detroit, where up to 40% of the population either has or soon will have their water cut off. See: http://detroitwaterbrigade.org/40-detroits-population-water-shut/
So the immediate social relevance of Urinetown is clear. This also looks to be a very promising show technically. Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, lately of “Porno Death Cult”, is doing the choreography, so I’m looking forward to that. This is a revival of a 2006 production. Take a look at the actors and the Firehall’s description here:
As is often the case, the Firehall offers some options to help make the show more affordable. There are Wednesday matinees that are pay-what-you-can. The preview shows November 1-4 are half-price. I am really looking forward to having a full-scale musical at the Firehall. I love serious dramas, but I also appreciate the charm of the musical genre.