Theater department rehearses new show: Hope you’re in town for “Urinetown”


The department of theater has begun rehearsals for “Urinetown: The Musical.” The satirical comedy will run from Nov. 4-13 in the Edwards Blackbox Theater. The musical provides insightful commentary on societal issues through the lens of a dystopian society facing a severe water shortage.

The story is set in the future where private and public toilets are banned due to an intense drought. Citizens must pay to use public toilets run by “Urine Good Company,” a power-hungry corporation in the show. People who attempt to pee for free are sent to Urinetown.

Robin Russell, director of the musical and theatre professor, said she intends for the production to lean into the ways in which the show has been influenced by Bertolt Brecht. A highly political and controversial German playwright, Brecht’s goal was to alienate the audience by not emotionally involving them in the story’s plot. The tone of this production has also been largely inspired by a comic book.

“We’re not hiding anything; everything is out in plain sight. The purpose [of this production] is to uplift, provoke, and entertain, while also making the audience think,” Russell said.

The show opened on Broadway over 20 years ago, but its message regarding the significance of sustainability applies today through satire and comedy. It was Brecht’s belief that the best way toward reform is through laughter. Alex Lefevre, music director for the show and theatre professor, said he agrees with the nature of the show’s message.

“It’s important for this show to be produced because the message resonates even more now than it did in 2001,” Lefevre said. “Everything is done in humor and [the show] doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Russell said the show is a lot of fun, but the rehearsal process has not come without its fair share of challenges. Adam Pelty, choreographer for Urinetown and theatre professor, said four-hour- long rehearsals are much harder in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic; the actors are simply out of practice.

Maggie Smith, assistant director and sophomore Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) acting major, said another challenge the actors must consider is the task of finding real, genuine people within an archetype. She said the actors balance this with discovering the authenticity in each character’s reality if they hope to resonate with an audience.

Urinetown opens in less than a month, but the cast and crew are on track to present the production. The department said the show will bring energetic choreography, buoyant vocals, innovative technical aspects, and a compelling message. Tickets can be purchased by visiting