Song Of The Day 6/6/2014: Nancy Opel - "It's a Privilege to Pee" (from "Urinetown")


Broadway Off And On: Originally I thought it was going to be a hoot writing about something called Urinetown. I mean, with a title like that, what could go wrong? And this sucker isn't even one of the off-Broadway shows I've been favoring this week: This one made it to the big top and won a Tony for Best Direction Of A Musical. But now that I've read the synopsis, I'm afraid this show would actually bum me out.

The premise is that an unnamed region of the United States has fallen victim to a drought of such massive proportions that urinating has now become something you pay for. A giant corporation, Urine Good Company, manages fee collection and, supposedly, upkeep of public toilets. UGC, as you might suspect, doesn't operate with the most scrupulous of business plans, and gleefully engage in bribery whilst constructing a monopoly over the bustling public toilet trade. With all the pent-up tension and anxiety infecting the souls of beings who really need to go all the time, obviously there's an increased need for law and order, and violators of the law are threatened with detainment and ultimate transport to a mysterious place called "Urinetown." (Hint: It's not a real place. It's code for something worse. You can probably figure out what that is. They tell you at the end of Act I anyway.) Rebellions flare up, corporate shenanigans, etc. It sounds like great fun, until you play out the metaphor to its utmost extent, and realize this thing was written almost 15 years ago. Then it gets dark right quick.

"It's A Privilege to Pee" comes towards the beginning of the show, as the manager of the most decrepit toilet in town explains the gospel to a would-be freeloader. Or I guess that should be a free-unloader.


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