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“Urinetown: The Musical!,” the Tony-award-winning hit from 2001, will have its last performances by Ann Arbor’s Penny Seats Theatre Company this weekend. Set in an admittedly absurd dystopian future where one must pay to pee, the show lampoons corporate bureaucracy, pie-in-the-sky optimism, revolution without a plan and the musical theater genre itself. With a full pit orchestra (led by Richard Alder) on the band shell stage, the action takes place around the audience in the park. Featured performers include Brendan Kelly (Ypsilanti), Roy Sexton (Saline), David Kiley (Ann Arbor), John DeMerell (Walled Lake), Sarah Leahy (Ann Arbor), Paige Martin (Ann Arbor), Cathy McDonald (Plymouth), Christina McKim (Albion), Jenna Pittman (Royal Oak), Linda Rabin Hammell (Detroit), Jeff Stringer (Jackson), Maika Van Oosterhout (Ann Arbor) and Daniel Bachelis (Howell).
Director Lauren London (who also serves as The Penny Seats’ President) says the piece is a natural for the group: “Since its turn on Broadway, ‘Urinetown’ has been a favorite of performers, for its snappy score and hilarious, wink-to-the-audience feeling. It’s a perfect show to place in our park, where the cast can interact up close with the audience, and take them into the show’s silly world. Our cast is filled with performers who excel at just this type of theater, and we’re thrilled to bring it to the park.”
Advance tickets are available at the group’s website, http://www.pennyseats.org. For the first time this year, the group is also selling package tickets, where patrons can purchase tickets to shows and save a dollar per ticket. Although the curtain goes up at 7 p.m. each evening, pre-show picnicking is encouraged, and the group will sell water and concessions at the park as well.
The Penny Seats current just completed their run of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).” The hilarious parody featured three actors attempting valiantly to perform every Shakespearean work in a mere 90 minutes. It was first performed by its authors, Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987, and it has gained meteoric fame in the years since, becoming one of the world’s most popular shows. The actors move frantically from piece to piece, donning and doffing costumes and wigs, hurling well-timed insults at one another and frequently interacting with the audience. The show starred Matt Cameron, Artun Kircali and Leanne Young, and was directed by Anne Levy.
All performances are at the West Park band shell. Patrons are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy at the park before or during the show. Lawn chairs, hats, bug spray and other outdoor gear are also encouraged. Alcohol may also be brought and enjoyed responsibly. Water and concessions will be available for purchase. More information about tickets, parking and available packages, is available on the company’s website, http://www.pennyseats.org. Tickets can be ordered at 734-926-5346.