Posted on: September 22, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Fine & Performing Arts Center

By Noor Awaidah, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Urinetown is a dystopian town that houses criminals who committed the worst offense of all: They didn’t pay to pee. Outrageous? Maybe. Hilarious? Possibly. This town takes center stage in a musical of the same name.

“Urinetown,” the fall theater production at Moraine Valley, is a humorous critique of capitalism gone to its extremes. A total of six performances will take place Nov. 4-13 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week, in the Dorothy Menker Theater in the F building.

In the musical, a water shortage has plagued the world, resulting in a government ban of private toilets. If you need to use the bathroom, be ready to pay up. Only public restrooms, owned by Urine Good Company, are available for use, and you must pay a fee. Anyone who fails to pay to urinate is banished to Urinetown.

The town is a mystery. Nobody knows what happens there or what happens to those exiled there. Its reputation is enough to keep the public in compliance. Until it isn’t. 

Photo by Joan Marcus for Playbill
The original Broadway production featured Hunter Foster as lead Bobby Strong (center), surrounded by cast members.

The citizens, who eventually grow tired of the government monitoring the excretion of their bodily fluids, decide that enough is enough, and a revolt is staged. 

FPAC program coordinator Craig Rosen, affectionately referred to as “Doc” by his students, will be directing the musical.

“The premise is sort of this comical thing, but it’s also a satire,” Rosen said. “It’s commenting on capitalism.”

He decided to produce “Urinetown” because he was looking for something lighthearted yet still meaningful. 

“Right now, things have been so miserable the past couple of years, we didn’t want to do something that was so full of angst,” he said.

During the pandemic, there were concerns about how the theater program would adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Now that safety protocols have been lifted, Rosen says, “we’re trying to get back into our normal routine again.” 

There hasn’t been a musical production at Moraine in nearly two years due to the pandemic. Last year, directors took a different approach with an original show.

Titled “How to Survive a Pandemic,” the collaborative show was created by Rosen, adjunct theater professor Jenni Lamb, and the cast of the show. The purpose was to “get some people involved,” Rosen says, “or 10 people involved–in something kind of organic–and kind of rebuild the program.

“Coming back from COVID, we didn’t know how many people would take part in the program,” he said.

Things have been so miserable the past couple of years, we didn’t want to do something that was [too] full of angst.”

Craig Rosen, director of ‘Urinetown’

For “Urinetown,” some returning students are involved, including third-year Moraine student Aron Gomez, who is interested in pursuing a theater major. This will be Gomez’s second production at Moraine Valley, his first being last spring in an adaptation of “Eurydice.” 

“It feels great to be back on stage after the chaos of the pandemic has died down a bit,” Gomez said. “This is my first musical at Moraine, and the first time I am performing on the main stage.”

Gomez will be playing the role of Bobby Strong, the lead character in the show. He says he’s “mainly excited about performing the dance numbers in the show such as ‘Run, Freedom, Run,’ which is what my character Bobby sings.”

Gomez says the show will make people think.

“Aside from the big laughs and fun-loving dance numbers, music, and characters of Urinetown, I think the audience will also get a glimpse of multiple major important keys of the show that will change their perspective on how they view the world today,” Gomez said.

Tickets for “Urinetown” are available on the FPAC website. Let’s just say, urine for a real treat.