Lyric Theatre concludes its 2008 summer season of musicals with “Urinetown,” opening Tuesday at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.


Lyric Theatre concludes its 2008 summer season of musicals with “Urinetown,” opening Tuesday at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.
A satirical comedy that scrutinizes everything from corporate greed to political corruption to blind idealism, “Urinetown, the Musical” is the story of a city in the midst of a terrible water shortage, which has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company (the Urine Good Company) that profits by charging admission. The rich get richer, the poor get trampled on, and finally one hero decides, with the help of his lady love, to plan a revolution of the bladder-oppressed that will lead them all to freedom.
Greg Kotis, who wrote “Urinetown” along with Mark Hollmann, was inspired by a trip to Europe when, nearly broke, he had to choose between having a meal or paying to use a public toilet. “Urinetown” opened on Broadway in 2001 and received accolades from critics and audiences. Not only does the show tell its story of oppression and rebellion with a tongue firmly in cheek, but it does so while poking fun at other musicals. Audiences will recognize bits from “West Side Story,” “Evita,” “Les Misérables,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “42nd Street,” “Will Rogers Follies” and many others. The musical also features a classic Broadway sound and production numbers with infectious melodies and choreography.
 “‘Urinetown’ won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Original Score and is lauded on Broadway as one of the smartest, most comical musicals of this century,” said Nick Demos, Lyric’s artistic director. “Lyric is devoted to bringing all different kinds of musicals to the stage, and producing ‘Urinetown’ allows us the chance to give our audiences something new and different. There is nothing offensive about it, other than an unattractive title.”
The cast of “Urinetown” features Dan Sharkey (on Broadway: “The Music Man”) as police officer Lockstock, who provides the show’s narrative voice and lets the audience know that this is, in fact, no ordinary musical. Judy Golden plays urchin Little Sally, who serves as Lockstock’s constant sidekick. Kelly Ellenwood (Broadway: “Phantom of the Opera”) stars as tough amenity warden Penelope Pennywise. The cast also includes Seth Rettberg as the people’s hero Bobby Strong, as well as Oklahoma native Heather Geery as his sweetheart, Hope Cladwell. Their love and their mission are both complicated, though, because Hope is the daughter of Urine Good Company’s slimy CEO Caldwell Cladwell, played by David Coffee.
The cast is rounded out by Lyric favorites Ben J. Williams, Lyn Cramer, Amber Hester, Robert Matson, Con O’Shea-Creal, Brooke Gebb, Ashley Mortimer, Matthew Sipress and Alex Michael Stoll in supporting roles. The production is directed and choreographed by Nick Demos, with music direction by Brian Hamilton.
“Urinetown, the Musical” will run from Aug. 5-9. Show times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with an additional Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets are priced from $27 to $52. For tickets: www.lyrictheatreokc.com, (405) 524-9312, 1-800- 364-7111, or in person at 1727 NW 16th St., Oklahoma City.