In keeping with its seasonal theme of "identity," Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will explore the fortitude within the human experience when the theatrical company opens "Urinetown" on Friday, June 14.
The Broadway musical takes audiences to a "not-so-distant dystopia" set 20 years after the onset of a global drought — a drought so serious that private toilets have been made unthinkable.
If you go
› What: “Urinetown”
› Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.
› When: 7:30 p.m. June 14-15, 20-22, 2:30 p.m. June 16
› Admission: $20 adults, $17 students and senior adults ages 65 and older
› For more information: EnsembleTheatreofChattanooga.com
In the city of Urinetown, it is a "privilege to pee"... and citizens may only do so at one of the public amenities managed by Urine Good Company and its founder Caldwell B. Cladwell.
But as dire as that sounds, the show is a satire of almost every musical written — parodying traditions in musicals such as style and story.
The 2002 Tony winner for Best Book, Score and Direction, "Urinetown" takes a satirical look at the dualities of populism, political activism and environmental sustainability in a way that has become more relevant and realistic with each passing year.
"I remember the first time I heard 'Urinetown' and how I immediately thought this was the most absurd premise ever," says director Ryan Laskowski. "Luckily for me, I love a good absurd premise (especially one accompanied by a jazzy trombone). Over the years, I have returned to 'Urinetown' for laughs from any one of its many memorable melodies. Writers Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis present the idea with slapstick, but the real water crisis is a serious matter."
Around the world today, almost 850 million people live without access to clean water, 2.3 billion do not have access to modern sanitation, according to information from Ensemble Theatre. Scholars have predicted that wars of the future will not be fought for petroleum, patriotism or proselytism, but for water.
In the cast of "Urinetown" are Bruce Shaw, Megan Cobb, Richard Nichols, Joel Sanchez, Emma Collins, Cody Keown, Kashun Parks, Marianna Allen, Gabriel Bailey, Jordan Bennet, Taryn Bracher, Kimberlin Lacy, Noah Phillips, Makayla Pippin and Garry Lee Posey.
Colby Jones is the music director.
"Urinetown" will be presented in six performances over two weekends. For more information: 423-987-5141.