The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

July 5, 2013

Sooner Theatre’s “Urinetown” packed with satire

NORMAN — “Urinetown the Musical.” Don’t over think the title. This production, coming to the Sooner Theatre in August, is exactly what it sounds like: Cue the potty jokes.

Despite the questionable title, Director Brandon Adams said the story, performed by 32 junior high and high school students, is remarkably clean.

“It’s a blessing and it’s a curse that people don’t know much about [‘Urinetown’],” Adams said. “The good side of that is you go in without many preconceived notions. The only downside is you’ve got to get people in here.”

“Urinetown,” written by New York playwright Greg Kotis in 2001, tells the story of a company capitalizing on a water shortage after a 20-year drought lead the government to ban private toilets. The company owns all the bathrooms and charges the public exorbitant fees to satisfy their needs. When people can’t pay, they are escorted to a mysterious place called Urinetown.

Bobby Strong grows sick of the mistreatment and leads a revolution against the executives.

Adams said the irreverent production is one of the more brilliant and witty musical theater scripts he’s seen over the past 10-15 years. “Urinetown” uses devices like satire and humor — comparable to “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” or sketches from “Saturday Night Live” — to make a statement.

Regular theater-goers will recognize both subtle and over-the-top blatant satires of classic musicals, Adams said, like “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story” and “Annie.”

Musical theater itself is even parodied in “Urinetown” by emphasizing the absurdity of “everybody just erupting into song and dance in a tense situation,” Stewart said.

Contrary to perhaps the whole idea of acting, Adams said characters acknowledge they’re performing on stage from the very beginning. This gives them a more free and relaxed atmosphere, almost an ad-libbed improv.

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