St James theatre’s interest-cranking UGC London project, which has been shrouded in secrecy though rumours and whispers had been rife, has been revealed as the UK premiere of hit Broadway musical Urinetown.
The Tony Award-winning show, which ran on Broadway between 2001 and 2004, will make its UK debut at the Victoria venue from 22 February where it will run until 3 May. At the unveiling of the production that Jamie Lloyd described today as “sort of the worst kept secret in the business”, the director also confirmed that, should all go well, the show will transfer to a West End venue and beyond.
Urinetown’s dystopian tale, which features book and lyrics by Greg Kotis and music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, is set in a city suffering a terrible drought, where business tycoon Caldwell B Cladwell has made his fortune by monopolising public toilets. With a brutal police force inflicting law and order, anyone getting caught short is sent not to jail but to the infamous Urinetown. What the city needs is a hero…
“When I first took this job a couple of years ago,” St James theatre’s Artistic Director David Gilmore told gathered press and guests at today’s launch, “I made a list of shows I would like to see in this theatre. At the top of that list I wrote one word, Urinetown. I think it’s an exciting, innovative, edgy, modern, tuneful, funny satirical show.”
Lloyd, who is also running the Trafalgar Transformed season at the Trafalgar Studios, which is currently presenting The Pride, and will open the stage adaptation of The Commitments later this autumn, confirmed that the UK production will be “darker” and “grungier” than the Broadway original, which won Tonys for Best Book, Best Score and Best Direction, and that rather than reset the musical in Britain, as had previously been mooted, the show would stay in an “atmospheric, dystopian Gotham-like city that I think our audience will really enjoy”.
While the show’s producers were not yet able to announce full casting as the audition process is still at recall stages, Lloyd is confident the finished cast will include some “very well loved musical theatre actors and also some surprises, which I’m really thrilled about”.
While the mood inside the St James theatre studio, where guests were entertained with a pair of songs from the musical, was one of excitement, elsewhere in the building the feeling was lower as tonight’s press night of Scenes From A Marriage, and performances until Friday, have been cancelled due to the ill health of leading man Mark Bazeley.
You can view Urinetown The Musical’s launch video at the top of the page.