Satire, comedy, singing and maybe even a touch of foreshadowing make up Fridley Community Theatre’s newest production, “Urinetown,” opening July 19.
This Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of a city where a water shortage led to a government ban on private toilets and the installation of pay-per-use public restrooms. Those who find free methods of relieving themselves are sent to Urinetown. Eventually, the citizens become outraged when the bathroom fees go up, and a rebellion commences.
“The audience will be surprised by how much they are laughing at the content of the story,” said Dan Wold, technical director for the production.
The show satirizes capitalism, the legal system and bureaucracy. But some of the musical’s messages are realistic, according to director Tom Larson.
“You find yourself laughing all the way through Act I and halfway through Act II,” he said. “Then you think, ‘Wait a minute, this could actually happen,’ and then later you’re laughing again.”
Each summer for the past decade the theater has put on a musical. To commemorate the decade of shows, actors from the nine previous musicals will perform a pre-show medley of songs from those performances.
In the time Fridley Community Theatre has existed, both the talent and community support have grown stronger, said Deborah Dahl, a board member for the organization.
“When you think about community, it’s really great to see people grow up in this program,” Dahl said. “People who started as young kids are now adults in this program.”
The show quality has also improved through the decade, Larson said. “We use what we learned from previous shows to improve each year,” he said. “We try to fine tune it every year based on what went wrong the year before.”
More than 700 volunteers have been involved with the theater’s 23 past productions. It typically puts on three shows a year, including a summer musical, a youth production and a winter dinner theater.
As for the next 10 years, Wold said he wants to incorporate even more entertainment.
“We want to continue to show what the audience finds entertaining,” Wold said. “We want to provide opportunities for people to showcase their talents.”
Fridley Community Theatre began with only one annual show, but later increased to three performances, Larson said.
“Urinetown” will be performed at 7 p.m. July 19-20 and July 25-26 and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the Fridley District Auditorium, 6000 W. Moore Lake Drive NE.
To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, the theater is asking anyone who has been involved in an Fridley Community Theatre production to come after the Saturday, July 20, performance for a group photo.
Tickets for “Urinetown” are available at fridleycommunitytheatre.org or by calling the Fridley Community Education Office at 763-502-5100. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students through high school.