Urinetown is an American musical dark comedy by Mark Holloman and Greg Kotis, about a dystopian future in which there has been a catastrophic drought, and the Urine Good Company and its CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell have gotten laws passed outlawing private restrooms and requiring payment for the usage of public ones, so as to conserve water. Those who do not pay for "The Privilege to Pee" are sent to a mysteriously ominous place known only as Urinetown. For twenty years the poor have been oppressed by ridiculous prices, until one day a young Public Amenity attendant named Bobby Strong leads an uprising of the Poor against the tyranny of their oppressors.
The original Broadway production was directed by John Rando and featured John Cullum as Cladwell and Hunter Foster as Bobby. It opened at Henry Miller's Theatre on September 10, 2001 and closed January 18, 2004, garnering rave reviews during its tenure, as well as ten Tony nominations.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Big enough for a secret hideout and several dance numbers.
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator: Officer Lockstock, along with Little Sally.
- Almost-Dead Guy: Bobby, in "Tell Her I Love Her".
- Angry Mob Song: "Look at the Sky" and, to a lesser extent, "We're Not Sorry". To a sadistic extent, "Snuff That Girl."
- Better Than a Bare Bulb
- Big Bad: Caldwell B. Cladwell.
- Big "What?": Used as a Running Gag.
- Big No: shouted by Hope during the so-proclaimed Act One Finale. and there's also a "Big Run".
- Black Comedy
- Bound and Gagged: Hope.
- Break the Cutie: When Bobby Strong is sent to Urinetown, the normally innocent, albeit painfully naive Hope Cladwell snaps completely, becomes the rebellion's new leader and murders her beloved father. Believe it or not, It Gets Worse.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Officer Lockstock and Little Sally occasionally talk to each other as if they know they have an audience.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hope Cladwell
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cladwell again.
- Corrupt Politician: Fipp.
- Daddy's Girl: Hope Cladwell. That is all.
- Dark Reprise: Spoilers abound here: "It's A Privilege to Pee" gets one final verse from Lockstock and Barrel in "Don't Be Like Him". "Urinetown" has no less than three - Hope's part of the Act I Finale, Lockstock and Barrel's part in "Why Did I Listen To That Man?", and the very end of "I See A River". "Follow Your Heart" has one in "Your Heart". Arguably, "We're Not Sorry" has one in "I'm Not Sorry" - this one has a tempo change from fast to slow. Only "Your Heart" has identical lyrics - the choruses of "Urinetown" are very close, but changed for each situation, and the rest are just reused melodies..
- Dawson Casting: Little Sally is most often played by a grown woman who looks/is made to look like a little girl.
- Deconstructor Fleet
- Downer Ending: Played for dark comedy, and accompanied by an Epic Song.
- The Dragon: Officers Lockstock and Barrel.
- Dystopian Edict: You have to pay in order to pee.
- Epic Song: "I See A River" fits.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Officer Lockstock = bass.
- Final Love Duet
- Follow Your Heart: "Follow Your Heart"
- Gospel Revival Number: "Run, Freedom, Run."
- Grey and Grey Morality: It isn't really that Cladwell is doing any of this out of villainous intent. When you get down to it, it's just a really bad situation.
- Greek Chorus: Officer Lockstock and Little Sally
- Heel Face Turn: One production chose to portray Senator Fipp as doing this.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Barrell to Lockstock.
[[spoiler: Officer Lockstock: I love the people of this community, Mr. Barrell. Very much. Cladwell's edicts may be their only chance.
Officer Barrell: And I love you. Very much.
Officer Lockstock: I see.]]
- The Hero: Bobby Strong is all kinds of this. Including The Hero Dies kind.
- Idiot Hero: Bobby has strong flavors of this as well.
- Inferred Holocaust: Penny Pennywise remembers and expands on this
- The Ingenue: Hope Cladwell is all kinds of this.
- Interactive Narrator: Officer Lockstock
- It Gets Better: Parodied and Defied in "Too Much Exposition".
Officer Lockstock: Whoa there, Little Sally. Not all at once. They'll hear more about the water shortage in the next scene.
Little Sally: Oh, I guess you don't want to overload them with too much exposition, huh?
Officer Lockstock: Everything in its time, Little Sally. You're too young to understand it now, but nothing can kill a show like too much exposition.
- Kick The Bunny - Mr. Cladwell raises this to an art form and then sings a helpful instructive song: "Don't Be the Bunny."
- Lampshade Hanging: The show gets half its laughs and most of its soul from this.
- La Résistance: The Poor, as rallied together by Bobby.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.
- Little Miss Snarker: Little Sally has shades of this.
- Load-Bearing Boss: Cladwell again.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Penny Pennywise to Hope Cladwell.
- Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: The Act I Finale and perhaps "What is Urinetown" fit this trope.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words: "I See a River, Flowing for Freedom" is a great catchphrase for a new revolution, until you realize that all the water is gone, and the townsfolk keep telling themselves that saying "I See a River Just In You" means they won't die of dehydration.
- Medium Awareness: Officer Lockstock and Little Sally.
- Mega Corp: The Urine Good Company
- Meta Guy: Officer Lockstock
- Metaphorgotten: On multiple occasions, Hope and Bobby seem to get a little confused on when they're talking about a metaphorical Follow Your Heart or a literal blood-pumping organ.
Bobby: Did you mean what you said about everyone having a heart?
Hope: Well, sure I did. Do you think you'd be feeling as bad as you do if you didn't have a heart?
Bobby: I don't know. I suppose not.
Hope: Of course you wouldn't, because then you'd be dead!
- Money Song: "Mr. Cladwell" has elements of this.
- Mr. Exposition: Officer Lockstock. Little Sally appears to be a Narrator-In-Training, learning, for instance, not to reveal too much Exposition at the start of the story.
- Necessarily Evil: Cladwell, and, by extension, the entire UGC
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The ending, when the heroes' overthrow of UGC results in an even worse drought.
- Oh, Hi There.: "Well, hello there, and welcome to Urinetown."
- One Nation Under Copyright: UGC has its own police. Enough said.
- Police Brutality: The "Cop Song". "If peace is what you're after / Urinetown's the rafter / to hang it on". Cladwell invokes it in the Act One Finale as well, proclaiming that "A little brutality is exactly' what these people need."
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mr. Cladwell to Bobby in the song Act 1 Finale and again in second act.
- Released to Elsewhere: Urinetown, for all the policemen's scare tactics, turns out to be a one-way trip off a building.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: "But we can't kill [the hostage]! That makes us just as bad as [the UGC]!" "Haven't you heard, Little Sally? We are just as bad as them! In fact, we're worse!"
- Room 101: Urinetown, which is just being thrown off a building, but no one knows that.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: So, so, so heavy on the Cynicism.
- The Something Song: "Cop Song" yet again.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Lampshaded by Little Sally
"But the music's so happy!"
"Yes, Little Sally. Yes it is."
- Title Drop: The title is also the name of a place that is referred to often.
- Token Mini-Moe: Little Sally
- Too Much Information: Fipp's speech to Hope in the first act slowly becomes this.
- Urine Trouble: The Musical!
- Villain Song: "Mr. Cladwell" is an up-tempo, happy version of this. "Cop Song" and "Don't Be the Bunny" are more traditional variants.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cladwell may be this
- Yes-Man: Mr. McQueen.