Urinetown is anonymous city distressed by water scarcity. Amid the dilemma there were also the occurrences of capitalist portrayed by Caldwell and revolutionary movements portrayed by the two lovers. The composer of the musical is a fan of Kurt Weil and so the Urinetown musical's precursors are performance like the "Three Penny Opera "and "The Cradle will Rock". The authors derive the theme of the musical from these shows and from 1930's Depression Era. The story is about ruthless rich and pity poor as they use a number of their songs from gospel/folk style of the liberty songs of the civil rights movement. Urinetown is a sassy spoof of greed, government corruption and indifference, love and revolution wherein there was a water shortage and people are forced to pay high fees for their water consumption. Mr Caldwell is the owner of the public use convenience, and he charge high pay for the people. He plotted death for Bobby, her daughter lover. Bobby is insurrectionist who was against the system of Mr Caldwell of being anti-poor. But his daughter, Hope led the cause of the people, who were against her father system, fight and bring downs her father and his monopoly. The musical indeed portrays the reality of water shortage, environment and greedy people in power. People around the world, are in dire need of water and Bobby being idealistic and principled man wanted to have enough water for all. He argued that "no man must be refused of his rights as a human just because of his economic status". Bobby is the voice of many people who are needy and vulnerable because of their economic condition. The use of toilet is intertwined with human hygiene and civilization and society's health. It is also a crucial relationship between clean and dirty environment.
The musical depicts also the monopoly system and political power of one person, Mr. Caldwell; the growing gap between rich and poor, environmental protection and petty small town politics. It satirizes capitalism, corporate mismanagement and bureaucracy. Kotis discovered in Europe, when he went there that almost public toilets have charges that's why the idea of Urinetown was born. In Europe, there are many public toilets that are not free to use, especially in train stations and tourist areas. Timothy J. Burleigh writes, "a significant issue to know about toilets in Europe is costly. Unlike in toilets in America, though those exist too, but in some public restrooms, you find a person sitting with a dish on it. You are anticipated to put a € 0.30 in the tray. This is a culture that you have to adapt to. In spite of this dilemma, considering water as a basic commodity would come into a point as a magical shot in applying solutions to the problem of water shortage around the world. The public toilet was solely controlled by wicked monopoly of wicked Urine Good Company. The story of Urinetown is not an exaggeration and not far from a reality where California Congressman Randy Cunningham receives kickback and consequently put into prison and likewise to Jake Abramoff because he arrange them. According to Scott Miller, Urinetown musical is a double satire, old fashioned musical comedy. It stirs questions about what musical should be like entertaining musical like West Side Story. The scene in "The Cradle will Rock" resembles the setting where Caldwell corrupt Bobby.
The poorest people complain but also obey. Thomas Robert Malthus 18th Century British political economist ultimately hypothesize that global population would surpass the Earth's capacity to provide needed resources for the people and unless even out by calamities made by man like epidemics and wars, and remove away the thousands of the population. Malthus theory is a requisite to Hollmann and Kotis to compose the Urinetown musical. The water shortage in the musical resembles Malthus theory and portrays also the class struggle.
The Urinetown has problems, and the "faults is not in the stars but in ourselves" as Shakespeare had noted in Julius Caesar. James Seay, playwright and drama critic argued that Hollmann and Kotis did not fully enter into Brecht and Kurt Weill's door. They are not only who did not excellently do the shows well even the great George Abbott, with his partner, Jerome Weidman, fell victim to it with their musical, Tenderloin, as did Marguerite Mennot and Alexamdre Breffort with their Irma La Duce. States in North Carolina and the United States are experiencing the same conditions of water shortage. To conserve water resources we should do something. In other countries in the world, drought is alarming and overwhelming. People lose their lives aside from their businesses. In India, people struggle with clean water and water scarcity. The Urinetown was not the first musical who navigates the concept of water. The musical who tackled the issue of water shortage due to drought are "The Cradle will Rock", The Threepenny Opera, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying", Assassins and others.
All these shows violated the rule of musical comedy, rejecting emotional attachment. It is true that the whole areas of musicals was conveying deep emotions with the aid of very strong abstract language of music, a language that outshine even poetry in its capacity to portray human emotion. Urinetown represents reality of greed, monopoly in the hands of powerful people. It is signifying of a petty culture hardly unable to run away from its own reflections of Broadway musicals. Capitalism was worst because the water crisis is demoralized by greedy Caldwell. People were compelled to pay exorbitant charge for using the public toilets. This is an act of exploitation where the city was suffering from severe drought and a powerful person take advantage the situation and profiteering from the poor people. Urinetown is melancholy. The satire of corporate monopoly, political corruption and the outcome of environmental ruin is the expression of the Urinetown. Corporation replace government control in the use of public amenities like public toilet and if people cannot afford the exorbitant charge in using the amenities they were urinate anywhere and doom to punishment since private toilets was outlawed by the government. It bribes politicians not regulate and inspect. It applies the schemes of state control to suppress a distressed and deprived population.
Urinetown is a place of deprivation in the people's right to basic physiological needs. There is a spoof of anti-utopian fashion of the middle of the twentieth century. It is a musical perceived out of historical and cultural context. The musical might turn to be perceptive vision for the future. Corporations on Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Pennsylvania and upstate New York have initiated extensive projects to take out natural gas by a process if goes wrong will ruin Delaware River and the fresh water supplies that supply the upstate communities, cities of Philadelphia, Trenton, New York and Camden.
Just like any good fairy tale, Urinetown works on so many levels, giving audiences a different message, experiences and questions. As Al Capone said, "We laugh since it's hilarious and we laugh because it's true." The musical clearly portrays the real society where dirty politics and corrupt people are rampant. Rex Reed in the New York observer noted, "A unique, new, colourful, exhilarating, bold and amazing musical". Also, Clive Barnes of the New York Post described it "a wild and joyful combination of sharp satire and loving spoof. Barnes is indeed right. It was a satire of American political and social elements and a parody of musical theatre as an art form, both aspects equally well created. Urinetowns recognizes other literary influences. The funny names of the cast can be finding back to Dickens and Victorians. Also, Urinetwon seems quoted scenes of "optimism" from Horatio Alger's novels for the youth that tackled "can do" spirit of capitalism. In a nutshell, Urinetown gives a intertwined fabric that permits for a unique form of audience- a challenge to audiences to incorporate pop culture knowledge to make out the orientation.
The Urinetown message is universal, relevant and timeless as the theme of the musical touches the issues of environmental concerns, political power, monopoly, greed and love. It continues to absorb everyone's attention because the issue of water shortage is equated to the issue of environment-the climate change. Drought is a natural phenomenon that everyone's lives are affected worldwide, regardless of social status and race. Yes, it deals with its crisis of humanity and it deals with the people's harsh conditions and its ways of coping in stupid manner. Water is a basic necessity of life as its fuels our day to day energy, when there are severe water scarcity different problems would arise. If there's one message that the musical conveys, it's that no one person can solve the problem of water shortage, while the problem remains worst in the corporate management of a private person. The clash between daughter and a father captivates the audience as the daughters oppose to her father's system of monopoly and acts of greediness. As the daughter appears to be heroine with the help of his lover, Urinetown would rise from the squalor brought by the severe drought. If you put price on water, for the sake of water conservation, you should price it reasonably and justly because everyone is entitled to the resources of the earth and everybody has the right to clean water. Urinetown, pleasant words, is fun. The subject matter of good and evil, the act of revenge were humorous and twisted. The issue of corporate management reflects the society's perennial problem. Most transnational corporations are controlled by the powerful people and dictate the economy. Mr. Caldwell monopolizes the business as he was back up by a malevolent politician bribing the legislature to outlaw the use of private toilets so that residents without no choice but to pay in his business. He became richer as he gets more profits from his business of usurping exorbitant price of privilege to avail the use of public toilet. In a society that compose of people, and if there is wick powerful that dominates the enterprise, naturally there will be a person who will save the people from immediate tyranny of one person. The revolution is a solution to topple the tyranny of one person. In performing arts, this issue was emphasize, satirized and portrayed to let the people know and be aware of the issues confronting their community.
The issue of water shortage is critical and serious for all the people of the world because water is life. The attractive scene in the play is the romantic love between Bobby and Hope. The poor boy meets the rich girl and together they fight their love and the malevolent power of Caldwell. Hope was torn between her father and her lover, Bobby. The play was a real-time amusing and fascinating, defiant of the trends of musical theatre while comically representing the twin evils of capitalism and corrupt government and its effects to the society. It made social and environmental consciousness edible to people. The continuing struggle to topple the corrupt government is in the hands of the people and with the aid of the performing arts social awareness becomes easily adapted and ingrained in the system of people, regardless of social status. In addition, Urinetown also is an expression and powerful art of protesting against corrupt power, but it's so glibly and uproariously conscious in the redeeming of freedom from the master of capitalism and incorrect politics. Obviously, the title terrible but the portrayal of the contemporary issues affecting society today is the most important. Opening of social awareness is the influence of the play to the audience and the ability to inspire the audience to fight their basic human rights and struggle against the evils of capitalism.
There are not many musical that use toilet as props. Urinetown is unique in its own theatrical way, sassy satiric musical. It makes audience laugh while the message to them was made known and understandable. It works hardly until you laugh and till you... pee.
- Miller, Scott In the Bowels of Urinetown www.newlinetheatre.com/urinechapter.html.
- Skelton, Shannon, Pop Culture and Urinetwon www.urinetownamigos.terapad.com
- Seay, James "When you Gotta go, you Gotta Go" www.pamphletpress.org/index.cfm?sec=7&story_id=70