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Fine Arts challenges a septic system with “Urinetown, The Musical” Oct. 26-29

No. 1, it’s swirling with heavy topics. No. 2, it’s flush with great humor.

It’s “Urinetown: The Musical,” the Tony Award-winning production being presented Oct. 26-29 in Swisher Theater by the Jacksonville University College of Fine Arts.

The play is billed as “a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theater itself.”

Picture a utility-challenged city, in which the government bans private toilets because of a horrible water shortage. A hero emerges to incite a revolt against the corrupt private company that charges citizens admission to fulfill their most basic human needs.

“It’s a Privilege to Pee,” as one song proclaims.

The New York Times’ original Broadway review called it “hilarious” and “a sensational piece of performance art,” heralding it as a “marvelously self-conscious satire of the musical theater’s social conscience, which focuses equally on human rights and body waste and has steadily gnawed its way from the theater’s sardonic, scofflaw fringe into its most challenging mainstream marketplace.”

Erik DeCicco

Directed by CFA Artist-in-Residence of Theatre Erik DeCicco, “Urinetown, The Musical” featuresmusic direction by Dr. Jay Ivey, Assistant Professor of Voice and Musical Theater; choreography and costume design by Curtis J. Williams; and set design by Brandon Lettow.

“This group of students features some of the most gifted young artists I’ve encountered – the talent in the College of Fine Arts and at JU is through the roof,” DeCicco said. “After losing a week of rehearsal to Hurricane Irma, they have dedicated themselves to delivering the highest quality of show to the campus and community.”

DeCicco noted that the script of Urinetown is demanding and requires discipline and dedication from the actors.

“Each member of the cast has risen marvelously to the occasion, far above and beyond the call of duty.  In addition, the technical design and artistry that has been poured into the production is top-notch.”

Junior LJ Glanton

The CFA production even had a technical consultant. JU Public Policy Institute MPP students Diana Chestnut and Sabrinna Maples took part in the collaboration, creating mock legislation based on the script. For example:

Sec. 21.189-5. – Public Amenities marked.

  1. The Urine Good Company shall clearly mark designated public amenities by placing painted lines upon the curbs and streets adjacent to public amenities. It shall be unlawful to loiter within the painted line around the public amenity.

Sec. 21.189-20. – Public amenity charges; exemptions for certain officials; registry of “Public Official” seals; renting of public amenities. A person who violates this Section shall be punishable by removal to Urinetown.

  1. When a person intends to use a public amenity, the person shall, prior to entering the public amenity, immediately deposit or cause to be deposited in the public amenity meter a coin of the United States or other form of payment required for the public amenity according to a rate to be displayed upon the face of the meter. Upon the payment of the meter fee the public amenity may be lawfully occupied by the person during the period of time which has been prescribed for the public amenity, determined by the location of the public amenity and or for that portion of time covered by the payment so deposited, whichever is less. If the person remains in the public amenity beyond the time fixed for that public amenity or the time paid for as deposited in the meter, whichever is less, the person shall be deemed to be illegally using a public amenity.

“Urinetown, The Musical” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, 27 and 28, and at 2 p.m. Oct. 29. For more information, call (904) 256-7347 or email edecicc@ju.edu. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or at jutickets.com. Prices are: Adults, $10; Seniors (62+), Military and Students (w/ID), $5; and JU Students, Faculty and Staff, free w/ID.