Music and Lyrics by Mark Hollmann
Book and Lyrics by Greg Kotis
June 4-27, 2020


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“An exhilarating, don’t-miss experience. . . Urinetown plays like a tale of class warfare as performed by the Marx Brothers. . . the funniest, most tuneful show in town”
– Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“If you ever take a reviewer’s advice, let this be it: GO SEE THIS PLAY. Seriously.”
– Kirsten Wylder, KDHX-FM

“New Line Theater’s production of this biting satire of politics, capitalism, corporate greed, environmental crises and, most importantly, of musical theater itself, is first-rate, particularly the extremely talented cast.”
– Amy Burger, PlaybackSTL

Before Yeast Nation, there was Urinetown. God only knows what'll be next.

Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis' URINETOWN is an hilariously subversive fable of greed, corruption, love, revolution, and urination, in a time when water is worth its weight in gold and there's no such thing as a free pee. Set in a near-future dystopian Gotham, a severe 20-year drought has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens are forced to use public "amenities" now, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. In this nightmare world, the punishment for an unauthorized pee is a trip to the dreaded URINETOWN. But from the ruins of Democracy and courtesy flushes, there rises an unlikely hero who decides he's held it long enough, and he launches a People's Revolution to lead them all to urinary freedom!

Inspired by the outrageous political theatre of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, and (very) loosely based on the writings of late eighteenth-century political and economic theorist Thomas Malthus, URINETOWN is a gloriously silly, irreverently truthful satire from which no target is safe. This is a show that catapults musical comedy into the new millennium with its rule-shattering tear through the traditions and conventions of musical theatre, leaving nothing but uncontrollable laughter and a great big puddle in its wake.

And that's just Act I.

Cardiff Giant, a theatre company in Chicago, had been known for its outrageous, irreverent social satire, some scripted, some improvised. Two members of the (now defunct) group, Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann, began working in 1995 on what would become Urinetown. Kotis was also a member of the alternative theatre group the Neo-Futurists, who specialized in evenings of brilliant one- and two-minute plays. During a trip to Europe with the Neo-Futurists, the nearly broke Kotis discovered to his dismay that most public toilets in Europe are pay-to-use. And the idea for Urinetown was born – a musical about a city in the not too distant future where toilets are all “pay-to-pee” and private toilets are outlawed, where all toilets are controlled by a large, malevolent, monopolizing corporation, the Urine Good Company.

When it opened in New York, the official slogan on the Urinetown T-shirts was “An appalling idea, fully realized.” Actor Daniel Marcus, who played Officer Barrel, said in an interview, “I call it a love letter to the American musical in the form of a grenade.”

In fact, Urinetown is a double satire, laughing at the sappy, happy conventions of old-fashioned musical comedy, but also laughing at shows like Les Miz or Passion which reject those conventions and perhaps go too far the other way. Urinetown raises questions about what we expect from musicals, whether or not “issue musicals” are satisfying entertainment, why certain stories or topics are musicalized, and whether or not serious musicals are too serious.

Bruce Weber in The New York Times said, “There simply is no show I’ve seen that gives such a sense that the creators and performers are always on the same page of an elaborate, high-spirited joke, that they are the proud members of a cabal that knows what it takes to make the world a better place and that they are thrilled to share what they know.” He also called the show “a sensational piece of performance art, one that acknowledges theater tradition and pushes it forward as well.” The show was nominated for 9 Tony Awards (winning Best Book and Best Score), 9 Drama Desk Awards, 7 Obie Awards (winning Best Musical), 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (winning Best Musical), and a Drama League Award for Best Musical.

The New Line cast includes Dominic Dowdy-Windsor (Lockstock), Jennelle Gilreath (Little Sally), Kevin Corpuz (Bobby Strong), Melissa Felps (Hope Cladwell), Kimi Short (Pennywise), Todd Schaefer (Mr. Cladwell), Marshall Jennings (Officer Barrel), Clayton Humburg, Sarah Porter, Zachary Allen Farmer, Ian McCreary, Brian Carles, Kellen Green, Jessica Winingham, Grace Langford, and Carrie Preismeyer. The New Line production will be directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, with music direction by Nicolas Valdez, choreography by Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack, costume design by Sarah Porter, scenic design by Todd Schaefer, and sound design by Ryan Day.

Produced by arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York.

The New Line Film Series presents the movie musical MACK THE KNIFE, the 1989 film version of The Threepenny Opera, on Weds., June 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Marcelle Theater, during the run of New Line's Urinetown. Click Here for more info.

Want to explore more?
We recommend:

The 2001 Original Off-Broadway cast recording, the published script, and the piano-vocal selections

Background and analysis of the show by artistic director Scott Miller, from his next book

The article Urinetown: Disaster capitalism as a musical

Articles on Epic Theatre and German Expressionism, two primary influences on Urinetown

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus, the 1798 philosophical and politico-economic treatise that is the philosophical basis for Urinetown (no kidding!) -- or here's the entire text of his essay online


URINETOWN runs June 4-27, 2020, Thursday through Saturday evenings, all performances at 8:00 p.m., at the Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in the Grand Center Arts District. June 4 is a preview. Click here for directions.

Season tickets go on sale in May 2019, and single tickets go on sale in August, through MetroTix outlets, including the Fox Theatre box office. Single tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $30 for adults and $25 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays. All ticket sales will include a service fee and a $1.00 facility fee. To charge tickets by phone, call MetroTix at 314-534-1111 or visit the Fox Theatre box office or the Metrotix website.

HIGH SCHOOL DISCOUNT: Any high school student with a valid school ID can get a $10 ticket for any performance all season long, with the code word for each show, which will posted only on New Line's Facebook page. This offer is available only at the door.

EDUCATORS DISCOUNT: New Line offers all currently employed educators half price tickets on any Thursday night, with work ID or other proof of employment. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

MILITARY DISCOUNT: New Line offers all active duty military personnel half price tickets on any Thursday night, with ID or other proof of active duty status. Not valid in connection with other discounts or offers, available only at the door, and subject to availability.

All programs subject to change. New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council. Cry-Baby is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York.

Click Here for info on free seats and other great ticket deals!