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April 11, 2023

SVSU Theatre presents ‘Urinetown, The Musical’

actors on stage looking at test tubes of liquid

The Saginaw Valley State University Theatre Department takes on the common themes of love, greed and corruption with the politically philosophical and simultaneously hilarious “Urinetown: the Musical.” The play, by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman, opens Wednesday, April 12 and runs through Sunday, April 16 at SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre of Performing Arts. The play is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Described as musical satire, “Urinetown” tells the story of a Gotham-like city that suffers a water shortage, leading to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Citizens must pay to use the public amenities, which are regulated by a malicious and greedy company until a hero, Bobby Strong, steps in to lead his people in a revolution to freedom.

“‘Urinetown’ seemed the perfect fit for the moment: a show about serious topics that refuses to take itself seriously,” said SVSU’s assistant professor of theatre, Tommy Wedge, who is directing the show. “I’m so privileged to have such a dedicated and talented team of student actors, designers, and technicians to bring it to life.”

Wedge is being assisted by Abbey Kuhns, a theatre major from North Street, near Port Huron.

“‘Urinetown’ will be my final mainstage production at Saginaw Valley before graduating, and I am so happy I was able to share this incredible journey with Tommy, who has encouraged me and challenged me in directing since my freshman semester,” Kuhns said.

Noah Johnson, a political science major from Lake Orion, plays Bobby Strong.

“Playing a lead role in a musical is a lot of work,” Johnson said, “but it’s a great experience. This show has really pushed me to the limits of my ability as a performer.

“I find the show’s themes really compelling,” Johnson added. “As a political science major, I’m very interested by how the show portrays both the positives and negatives of capitalist and communist systems.”

While the title of the play suggests shallow humor, Kuhns said it is more profound.

“An audience might enter the theatre expecting a constant stream of bathroom humor,” Kuhns said. “However, the story ends with the words ‘Hail, Malthus!’ in reference to influential political economist Thomas Malthus, revealing there is a much deeper philosophy pocketed among the satire and wit.”

 “‘Urinetown’ is exactly what I love about theatre because it immediately evokes a response from people.”

Performances of “Urinetown: The Musical” will be held Wednesday, April 12 through Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 16 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at the box office.

Note: Due to some mature subject matter, the recommended age is 12 and up.