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Theatre of Dare tackles wacky, satirical 'Urinetown: The Musical'

Theatre of Dare chose Urinetown: The Musical for its spring musical. It first week of performances sold out, with more show this weekend.
Courtesy Theatre of Dare
Theatre of Dare chose Urinetown: The Musical for its spring musical. It first week of performances sold out, with more show this weekend.

Theatre of Dare in Kitty Hawk is putting on Urinetown: The Musical, a satire that takes place in a drought-stricken future.

The terrible water shortage has led the government to limit toilet use, eliminating private toilets and forcing people to pay to use public amenities instead.

The Theatre’s performances sold out last week. Right when you walk in, you'll see Public Amenity #9—a "gnarly" looking structure with people waiting in line to enter.

The world the characters inhabit is dismal, as shown with the well-constructed sets and color palette of dark reds, brown and gray.

The 20 year-drought period caused by climate change is known as the "stink years" in the musical.

The musical follows Bobby, the hero who challenges the status quo, which is upheld by Mr. Caldwell B. Calwell, who lives luxuriously as the only toilet provider in town. His company, aptly named UrineGood Company, has a monopoly on public amenities. Caldwell is egotistical, corrupt, and driven by profit.

Bobby meets Caldwell's daughter, Hope, who tells him to follow his heart.

"He takes that literally, and says we are no longer going to pee for profit," Hutchison shared.

Bobby begins a movement in the city to upturn Caldwell's business model and allow free use of public amenities.

Urinetown: The Musical premiered off-Broadway in 2001 before showing on Broadway later that year. It won the Tony for Best Book and Best Original Score.

When Gail Hutchison shared her idea of producing Urinetown: The Musical, she was met with raised eyebrows.

It was met with curiosity," she said. "I'd tell people I was directing Urinetown: The Musical, and they would laugh and say 'that's so funny. I thought you said Urinetown.' And I would go 'Yeah, I did.'"

She chose to the pursue the musical after seeing it at Raleigh Little Theatre years ago.

"I was just stinking blown away by the the music, by the choreography, and then the underlying message," she said.

It’s an ambitious musical with lots of moving parts – soaring musical numbers, lengthy dialogue, precise comedic delivery and intricate group ensembles. Hutchison had just enough people to fill the 18-member cast.

"They all fit into their roles so perfectly I couldn't havecast it any better," she said.

Theatre of Dare has just a few remaining performances, today through Sunday. Evening performances Today through Saturday and a matinee on Sunday.

Ryan is an Arkansas native and podcast junkie. He was first introduced to public radio during an internship with his hometown NPR station, KUAF. Ryan is a graduate of Tufts University in Somerville, Mass., where he studied political science and led the Tufts Daily, the nation’s smallest independent daily college newspaper. In his spare time, Ryan likes to embroider, attend musicals, and spend time with his fiancée.