Give Me a Pee 

Urinetown -- a prison camp of sorts -- is a place nobody wants to go, but it's also a wildly funny and inventive piece of musical theater. The show, which opens this weekend at Playhouse on the Square, takes place in a town just like any other town you might find in a musical, only this town has been plagued by a terrible drought. Water is in such short supply that the wickedly bent CEO Caldwell B. Caldwell has figured out a way to charge citizens a pee fee, and those who refuse to pay are clapped in irons and shipped off to Urinetown.

Moving seamlessly between mild political satire and a fearsome parody of musical theater, Urinetown is the rare, intelligent musical custom-built for people who love to hate musicals. Its brooding atmospherics and constant critique of middle-class values place the show squarely in the tradition of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, while its musical aesthetic is more in keeping with classic Mel Brooks.

Urinetown made its first underground splash in 1999 and was the first big Broadway show to open in New York after 9/11, a time when pundits nationwide were heralding the death of satire and other musicals were closing due to sharply declining ticket sales. Although Urinetown was anything but a love fest for American values, it was instantly embraced, winning a water-closet full of awards, including three Tonys. Playhouse on the Square's production of Urinetown is directed by the U of M's Bob Hetherington, who's been on a roll this theater season helming such productions as Parade at the U of M and Inherit the Wind at Theatre Memphis.

Urinetown, Playhouse on the Square through July 23rd. Go to playhouseonthesquare.org for times and ticket prices.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Juneteenth in Memphis

      Festival celebrates our free and united society.
    • Bring Your Quilts to Crosstown

      Memphis Quilts invites the public to bring their favorite quilts for this Stitched Festival event.

The Latest

Art Feature

“Bouguereau & America” at the Brooks

News Feature

Ounce of Change: The Latest Pot/Hemp News

Food & Wine

The Path of Andrew Michael’s Josh Hunt

Film Features

The Dead Don’t Die

Music Features

Son Volt’s Jay Farrar on His New Album and Woody Guthrie

We Recommend

Lit & Libations: The Gone Dead

We Recommend

Sami Harvey Had a Spare Kidney — So Do You

The Fly-By

MEMernet

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Davis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation