St James Theatre’s ‘secret’ musical is revealed as Urinetown

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The St James Theatre today revealed that its ‘secret’ musical will be Urinetown, written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis.

Tickets for the show have been on sale for months, despite the theatre only previously referring to it as UGC London – a reference to an aspect of the show’s plot.

Urinetown will be directed by Jamie Lloyd and will open at the theatre from February 22, 2014, running until May 3. It will have its press night on March 11 and is produced by Julian Stoneman Associates and the Araca Group.

Urinetown ran on Broadway from 2001 until 2004 and was nominated for 10 Tony awards, winning for best book, score and direction.

St James Theatre artistic director David Gilmore said: “On taking up the reins of the still-to-be-built St James Theatre two years ago, I made a wish list of shows which I hoped to bring to its stage. At the very top of that list was Urinetown. I am thrilled that it will now form the centrepiece of our second season.”

Lloyd said he had wanted to direct the musical “for many years”. He added that he originally saw it on Broadway in 2002 and was “struck by its unbelievable wit”.

“Whilst sounding like a contemporary Kurt Weill score, Urinetown takes a hilarious, off-kilter look at a dystopian future that chimes with our times, exposing the reality that our way of life is no longer sustainable," he said.

He added that it “engages in a highly pertinent, political conversation” whilst “keeping its tongue in its cheek and a beating heart at its centre”.

Lloyd revealed that the UK show will be “darker” than the original US production. Speaking about the decision not to reveal the title immediately, he said: “It’s clearly an interesting and new way of marketing a show and trying something out. It was announced as UGC London and there’s a strong reason for that. In the text, Urinetown, this mythical place that we hear a lot of in the show, is a legend – a secret.”

He added: “I loved the idea that we did the same, that we created a production that has an aura of mystique about it, right from the off.”

The musical will have choreography by Ann Yee, lighting by Adam Silverman, sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster, and musical supervision by Alan Williams.