Urinetown The Musical

Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann; With a Preface by David Auburn and an Introduction by the Authors

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

144 Pages



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Praised by critics for reinvigorating the very notion of what a Broadway musical could be, Urinetown, winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Book, is one of the most distinctive theatrical experiences to hit the Great White Way in recent memory. A grand and winking love letter to the conventions of musical theater and an untempered satire wherein no one is safe from scrutiny, Urinetown depicts a world wracked by ecological disaster, caught in the throes of corporate greed, and ultimately felled by the best intentions. In a Gotham-like city, a depletion of the earth's water supply has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The privilege to pee is regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero has risen who will lead them to freedom.

Included in this edition is a Preface by David Auburn, as well as an Introduction by the show's creators detailing their inspirations and Urinetown's unlikely journey from New York City's Fringe Festival to Broadway sensation.


Praise for Urinetown

"A musical for our times . . . Uniquely outrageous."—Michael Kilian, Chicago Tribune

"What kind of musical is this? A fresh, unique, original, impudent, colorful, exciting, irreverent, surprising and wonderful musical, that's all!"—Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"Irreverent [and] nimble . . . Takes every Broadway banality and subverts [it] with refreshing cynicism."—Amy Gamerman, The Wall Street Journal

"Of course, you're not supposed to like that title—that's part of the big, good-natured, and remarkably successful joke that is Urinetown. A terrifically spirited sendup of musicals and their conventions."—Nancy Franklin, The New Yorker

"There simply is no show I've ever seen that gives off such a sense that the creators and perfomers are always on the same page of an elaborate, high-spirited joke, that they are the proud members of a cabal that knows what it takes to make the world a better place and that they are thrilled to share what they know. A sensational piece of performance art, one that acknowledges theater tradition and pushes it forward as well."—Bruce Weber, The New York Times

"Who would have thought that a 1999 Fringe Festival curiosity about ecological disaster, overpopulation and the right to pee would even make it to Broadway, let alone receive ten Tony nominations? . . . Kotis and Hollmann [have] proven that originality and irreverence can thrive on the Great White Way."—Jason Zinoman, Time Out New York

"One of the more original musicals to come along in a long time. The brilliant songs develop the story of corporate oppression and popular revolt and comment on the play itself, in hilariously sardonic homages to the Brecht-Weill canon, upbeat swing numbers and rousing spirituals."—Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle

0 "A joyously cynical musical about musicals, whose barbed, knowing wit made me laugh so long and hard that my cheeks were sore all the way home."—Terry Teachout, The Washington Post

"A wild and happy mix of biting satire and loving parody."—Clive Barnes, New York Post

"Sly and funny."—Michael Feingold, The Village Voice

"A delicious piece of self-referential wit . . . Like the best of musicals, it has a serious point to make."—John Fleming, St. Petersburg Times

"A startlingly original musical . . . Sly, wry, and self-aware."—Detroit Free Press

"Urinetown is one of the cleverest, most adroit, funniest and irreverent evenings I've spent in a long season."—Liz Smith

"Elevated silliness of the highest order that makes a gratifying case for the restorative return to knowing foolishness and the smartly absurd. The show winks at everything from Hamlet’s father’s ghost to West Side Story, from the revolutionary pretensions of Les Mis to the revivalist joy of Guys & Dolls."—Linda Winer, Newsday

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

ACT IScene 1Early morning. The poorest, filthiest urinal in town. Above the entrance to the urinal hangs a sign that reads Public Amenity #9. THE POOR lie sprawled across the stage, sleeping quietly. Music for "Urinetown" plays softly in the background. OFFICER LOCKSTOCK enters from the house, inspecting the theater for orderliness. Satisfied, he takes his place onstage and addresses the audience directly. 
LOCKSTOCK: Well, hello there. And welcome--to Urinetown! (Pause.) Not the place, of course. The musical. Urinetown "the place" is ... well, it's a place you'll hear people
Read the full excerpt


  • Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann; With a Preface by David Auburn and an Introduction by the Authors

  • Greg Kotis is a veteran of the Neo-Futurists, creators of the long-running attempt to perform thirty plays in sixty minutes. Jobey and Katherine, his play about fish, toast, and a love stronger and grimmer than death, enjoyed runs in New York and Chicago. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.

    Mark Hollmann attended the Making Tuners Workshop at New Tuners Threatre in Chicago and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop in New York. A member of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, he lives in Manhattan with his wife.