Hey there, Bob and Betty Theater-goer. Why not see Urinetown while you're in town? It's affectionately known as The Number One Musical.
Actually, the full title of the Little Theatre of Savannah's new show is Urinetown: The Musical, and yes, it's a tune-filled comedy ... about going to the bathroom.
The play, written by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis, opens Thursday at the Seaboard Freight Station Theatre.
Nominated for nine Tony Awards in 2001, it won three, including Best Score and Best Book for a Musical.
"I think there's a certain resiliency in the show, something that really brings people together because of its sense of humor," says director Jeff DeVincent, who teaches liberal arts at SCAD. "The show's really funny, and anybody that's heard anything about the book or the music will be interested in coming."
OK, but what about that title? "I think people will come and see it because of the title," DeVincent says.
Urinetown is a satire about corporate greed, government corruption and the futility of a mob mentality. "The government, the corporation, the military and the law are all the same thing," DeVincent explains.
After a 20-year water shortage, citizens are only allowed to pee - for a fee - at public facilities, owned and operated by a nasty big-brother corporation called Urine Good Company (UGC).
Those who can't hold it in and break the company's strict rules are sent to Urinetown, a mysterious penal colony from which no one has ever returned.
Needless to say, folks ain't happy about all this.
Company CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell has a daughter, the sweet and virginal Hope, who returns from college to find of a public revolt led by handsome Bobby Strong.
A romance ensues, but it's soon swept up in the tide of ... well, you get it.
"Bobby's a very simple character," says veteran Savannah actor Ryan McCurdy, who's also the show's musical director. "He's one of those everyman types that have greatness thrust upon him, rather than seeking it out.
"It's almost as if they make a deity out of him - he makes one decision to help one person out, and everyone keeps putting things on him and saying ‘Do this for us now.' And they make him into this leader."
Hope is played by Courtney Brinson. "She falls in love with Bobby partially because she wants to change him, I think," Brinson explains. "She wants to save him from the oppression of Urinetown, from this way of thinking that love and all these things are gone - because all people can think about, every day, is being able to pee."
Brinson - a veteran of numerous SCAD shows, says DeVincent is the best director she's ever worked with. "And Ryan is the best actor in Savannah, in my opinion. I have a lot to learn from him, but it's wonderful to be in the hands of these two guys."
There are 17 people in DeVincent's cast.
"It's actually quite lighthearted," Brinson adds. "I know it sounds very serious, but there's never a moment where you get too far in to where you can't laugh. Because it's constantly going to hit you with something that takes the weight off, and brings you back to a really great time."
Monica McDermott, president of Little Theatre of Savannah, says that tackling edgier shows like Urinetown - when the group could play it safe and do cash cows like Oklahoma! or Guys and Dolls for the umpteenth time - is the sort of things that keeps community theater from growing stagnant.
"We're always looking for variety for our audiences, and we think that Urinetown definitely fits the bill," she says.
"There's really nothing in this show that you couldn't bring the family to. You just have to get over the title."
Urinetown: The Musical
Where: Little Theatre of Savannah/Seaboard Freight Station Theatre, 703D Louisville Rd.
When: At 8 p.m. July 16-18, 23-26, 30, 31 and August 1; 3 p.m. July 19 and Aug. 2
Tickets: $20 public, $15 seniors, military and students with valid ID, $10 children
Phone: (912) 631-3773
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