Great musical, awful title: ‘Urinetown’ arrives at Canberra Theater

Heart Strings Theater Co.’s first production brings the award-winning hilarious Urineville the musical at the Canberra Theatre.

Urinetown won three Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score, two Obie Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards – and the Canberra Theater Center’s own award for Worst title.

The story takes place in a dark and dirty city that one could compare to Gotham; however, in Gotham, you don’t have to pay to pee. The city has been mired in a 20-year drought-induced water shortage that saw the government ban private toilets. Citizens must use public facilities, which are regulated by a single company that benefits from the most basic human needs of the population. Sick of this treatment, a hero arises, determined to lead them to freedom and their own toilet through a revolution.

A satire of the legal system, social irresponsibility, municipal politics, corporate mismanagement and musical theater itself, Urineville puts the finger on the head of current global issues, including resource scarcity (looking at you here, lettuce), severe droughts, environmental disasters and social injustice. All of this, while addressing the age-old question of how the fortunate should help the less fortunate.

Heart String Theater Co. is a semi-professional theater company founded last year by Ylaria Rogers. She thinks paid opportunities for professional performance artists in Canberra are scarce, especially for those in musical theatre, so just like the hero of Urineville, she decided to do something. The company is committed to ensuring that each artist is paid for their participation in the productions. They aim to obtain the maximum possible return for the artist through profit-sharing agreements.

This play also uses recycled sets and costumes to reduce production costs.

To catch Urineville the musical at the Canberra Theater Center, July 14-24; tickets available here

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