Urinetown is an American musicaldark comedy by Mark Holloman and Greg Kotis, about a dystopian future in which there has been a catastrophic drought, and the Urine Good Company and its CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell have gotten laws passed outlawing private restrooms and requiring payment for the usage of public ones, so as to conserve water. Those who do not pay for "The Privilege to Pee" are sent to a mysteriously ominous place known only as Urinetown. For twenty years the poor have been oppressed by ridiculous prices, until one day a young Public Amenity attendant named Bobby Strong leads an uprising of the Poor against the tyranny of their oppressors.The original Broadway production was directed by John Rando and featured John Cullum as Cladwell and Hunter Foster as Bobby. It opened at Henry Miller's Theatre on September 10, 2001 and closed January 18, 2004, garnering rave reviews during its tenure, as well as ten Tony nominations.
All There in the Script: Many of the characters have names which are never spoken, such as Hot Blades Harry and Little Becky Two-Shoes (who both sing "Snuff that Girl"), as well as Robby the Stockfish, Billy Boy Bill, Soupy Sue, and Tiny Tim.
As well as Bobby's mother, Josephine, who apparently married a man named Joseph.
Angry Mob Song: Multiple. The righteous anger expressed in "Look at the Sky" becomes sadistic and murderous in "Snuff That Girl" and ultimately, "We're Not Sorry".
Arc Words: Today/Tomorrow. Bobby, Hope and the revolutionaries care about Today, as in living day to day while Caldwell and the UGC care about Tomorrow and planning ahead. Tomorrow ends up being the right path to take; once those in favor of 'Today' take over, the water dries up.
Dark Reprise: Spoilers abound here: "It's A Privilege to Pee" gets one final verse from Lockstock and Barrel in "Don't Be Like Him". "Urinetown" has no less than three - Hope's part of the Act I Finale, Lockstock and Barrel's part in "Why Did I Listen To That Man?", and the very end of "I See A River". "Follow Your Heart" has one in "Your Heart". Arguably, "We're Not Sorry" has one in "I'm Not Sorry" - this one has a tempo change from fast to slow. Only "Your Heart" has identical lyrics - the choruses of "Urinetown" are very close, but changed for each situation, and the rest are just reused melodies.
Dawson Casting: Little Sally is most often played by a grown woman who looks/is made to look like a little girl.
Grey and Grey Morality: Bobby's idealistic freedom fighters ultimately become bloodthirsty murderers, and their failure to plan for the future has dire consequences. Meanwhile, Cladwell is milking a horrible situation for personal profit and gleefully disregards the well-being of the poor, but his draconic policies of water conservation are keeping everyone alive...that is, until he is overthrown.
Officer Lockstock: Whoa there, Little Sally. Not all at once. They'll hear more about the water shortage in the next scene. Little Sally: Oh, I guess you don't want to overload them with too much exposition, huh? Officer Lockstock: Everything in its time, Little Sally. You're too young to understand it now, but nothing can kill a show like too much exposition.
Kick The Bunny - Mr. Cladwell raises this to an art form and then sings a helpful instructive song: "Don't Be the Bunny."
Meaningless Meaningful Words: "I See a River, Flowing for Freedom" is a great catchphrase for a new revolution, until you realize that all the water is gone, and the townsfolk keep telling themselves that saying "I See a River Just In You" means they won't die of dehydration.
On multiple occasions, Hope and Bobby seem to get a little confused on when they're talking about a metaphorical Follow Your Heart or a literal blood-pumping organ.
Bobby: Did you mean what you said about everyone having a heart? Hope: Well, sure I did. Do you think you'd be feeling as bad as you do if you didn't have a heart? Bobby: I don't know. I suppose not. Hope: Of course you wouldn't, because then you'd be dead!
Caldwell and Hope both seem to lose the point of "Don't Be The Bunny"; Caldwell by expanding on it too much and Hope by Comically Missing the Point.
Hope: A little bunny at a tollbooth?
Cladwell: You heard me.
Hope: But Daddy, bunnies don't drive cars.
Cladwell: Oh, don't they?!
Hope: No, actually, I don't think they do.
Missing Mom: Hope's mother. Later, she's revealed to be Ms. Pennywise
Nobody Poops: Curiously played straight. Although urination is the "central conceit of the show", bowel movements don't seem to be a concern. They are mentioned exactly once, in a throw-away line in "Privilege to Pee", and never brought up again.
Police Brutality: The "Cop Song". "If peace is what you're after / Urinetown's the rafter / to hang it on". Cladwell invokes it in the Act One Finale as well, proclaiming that "A little brutality is exactly' what these people need."
Room 101: Urinetown, which is just being thrown off a building, but no one knows that.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Fipp repeatedly talks about running off to Rio, but Cladwell keeps convincing him to stay around. He eventually tries to run off during "We're Not Sorry", only to be killed by the rebel poor.
Seize Them!: Seize him/her/them gets shouted a few times.
Writers Cannot Do Math: The drought apparently has been going on for 20 years. Hope was conceived during the stink years, which would make her 19 at the most, and yet the play begins with her just having graduated from university.