Urinetown makes its Augusta premiere May 17 at Le Chat Noir. The show will run for five performances in May. Photo courtesy Krys Bailey
Urinetown makes its Augusta premiere May 17 at Le Chat Noir. The show will run for five performances in May. Photo courtesy Krys Bailey

Tony Award-winning musical makes its Augusta premiere at Le Chat Noir

It’s been several years since Le Chat Noir’s stage hosted a musical, and a three-time Tony Award-winning musical will make its Augusta debut.

“This was the musical we were going to close 2020 with. We didn’t get to do it in May because we were forced to be closed,” said Krys Bailey, who is directing “Urinetown” the satirical piece that pokes fun at capitalism, bureaucracy and musicals themselves.

Greg Kotis, who wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics, recently appeared on North Augusta’s Jonathan Cook’s “Gather by the Ghost Light” podcast and gave a shout out to the cast that is finally getting the chance to stage the show four years later.

After COVID,  the show stayed on hold for a couple of years for various reasons.

“We didn’t have the resources, or the key people weren’t available,” Bailey said.

While some of the actors who were supposed to take part in 2020 are no longer in the area, most of the actors in lead roles have returned to finally bring the show to the stage. And Bailey couldn’t be happier with the cast he’s ended up with.

“The cast we have now I wouldn’t trade out for anything. They are golden,” he said.

“Urinetown” premiered at New York’s Henry Miller Theater on Sept. 20, 2001 and ended up winning three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards in addition to its Tony Awards. It ran for 965 performances with the curtain falling in January 2004.

The comedy is set in a “Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides that he’s had enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom,” according to the synopsis at MTI Shows, which licenses the play.

One of last musicals performed at Le Chat was “The Evil Dead” in 2018 which Bailey said was sheer fun. “Urinetown” is silly fun too, he said, but its fun comes with a message.

“It’s about how we as a society treat problems,” he said. “We have looming problems over us, and we monetize the relief of symptoms instead of coming up with the cure.”

“Urinetown” will be performed at 8 p.m. May 17, 18 and 23-25 at the black box theater at 304 Eighth St. Tickets are $35. Click here for more information.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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