Theatre Review: Urinetown

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

“Urinetown” opens with a line of people desperately holding their bladders, until they can hand over their cash, and use a public restroom. Since it’s a musical, they soon start singing and dancing.


This show raised eyebrows when it debuted in New York six years ago – the title and the subject matter are rather edgy. It is a musical, but it’s simultaneously a devastating satire of a musical – almost an anti-musical at times. The story paints a Brechtian portrait of a corrupt monopoly, run by a genial but ruthless corporate kingpin with a gleaming eye, who really doesn’t care what happens to the little people.


One more thing about “Urinetown.” The original production was a big hit in New York, but the tour never came to Sacramento. So this is the first local opportunity to see this sassy, seditious entertainment. River Stage has mounted a slick, very smart production, and it marks the return of veteran director Frank Condon. He presents this kind of penetrating, socially aware entertainment better than anyone else in town -- Sactown, not Urinetown.