Urinetown - SYNOPSIS

2001 Broadway
Urinetown the Musical - Synopsis Plot

Act I

The show opens with a grim welcome from Officer Lockstock, a policeman, assisted by the street urchin Little Sally. According to Lockstock and Little Sally, a twenty-year drought has caused a terrible water shortage, making private toilets unthinkable. All restroom activities are done in public toilets controlled by a megacorporation called "Urine Good Company" (or UGC). To control water consumption, people have to pay to use the amenities ("Too Much Exposition"). There are harsh laws ensuring that people pay to urinate, and if the laws are broken, the offender is sent to a place called "Urinetown," never to return.

The oppressed masses huddle in line at the poorest, filthiest urinal in town, Public Amenity #9, which is run by the rigid, harshly authoritarian Penelope Pennywise and her assistant, dashing young everyman Bobby Strong. Trouble ensues when Bobby's father, Old Man Strong, cannot afford his urinal admission for the day and asks Pennywise to let him go free "just this once." After Old Man Strong's plea is dismissed ("It's a Privilege to Pee"), he urinates on the street and is soon arrested by Officers Lockstock and Barrel and escorted off to Urinetown ("It's a Privilege to Pee - Reprise").

Later that day, in the corporate offices of Urine Good Company, CEO Caldwell B. Cladwell is discussing the new fee hikes with Senator Fipp, a politician firmly in Cladwell's pocket, when Cladwell's beautiful daughter, Hope Cladwell, arrives on the scene as the UGC's new fax/copy girl. By way of introduction, the UGC staff sing a song in praise of their chief ("Mr. Cladwell").

Officers Lockstock and Barrel discuss the journey to Urinetown and how it reduces everyone, even the toughest, to screams ("The Cop Song"). Hope enters and encounters Bobby Strong. Bobby, distraught over his father's arrest and wondering if he could have done something, tells Hope that his heart feels either cold or empty. Hope tells Bobby that the only answer is to follow his heart. The two realize that they both want a new world where the people can be happy and pee for free. United by their belief, they fall in love ("Follow Your Heart"). Little Sally asks Officer Lockstock what Urinetown is like, but Lockstock replies that its power lies in its mystery and he cannot flippantly reveal that "there is no Urinetown, we just kill people", and that the reveal will not come until Act II, "with everybody singing and things like that."

The next day, Cladwell's assistant, Mr. McQueen, announces the new fee hikes set upon the urinals. Bobby concludes that the laws are wrong. Opening the doors of the urinal, despite Ms. Pennywise's protests, he begins a pee-for-free rebellion ("Look at the Sky").

Pennywise rushes to the offices of UGC, where she informs Cladwell of the revolution. The two give each other long, meaningful looks, but they are interrupted by the situation at hand. Cladwell vows to crush the rebellion, frightening Hope. Cladwell, by way of a series of increasingly convoluted metaphors involving a bunny, tells Hope that it is their privilege and responsibility to stomp on the poor ("Don't Be the Bunny").

Cladwell, McQueen, Fipp, Pennywise, Lockstock and Barrel arrive at Amenity #9 to snuff out the uprising. Bobby learns that Hope is Cladwell's daughter. Bobby realizes that the only way out of the trap is to kidnap Hope to use as leverage against Cladwell. The rebel poor escape with Hope as their hostage. The police give chase, but the slow-motion choreography makes it impossible for the police to catch them. Lockstock vows to catch the poor as he tells the audience to enjoy intermission ("Act I Finale").

Act II

Lockstock welcomes everyone back. He catches the audience up on the situation, and tells them that the rebel poor are holed up in a secret hideout somewhere, gesturing to a large sign that reads "Secret Hideout." The sign leads to the sewers, where the rebels are holding Hope hostage. The rebels wonder what Urinetown is, and two of them, Little Becky Two-Shoes and Hot Blades Harry, explain their theories. Cladwell orders Lockstock to search harder for the rebels, threatening that he will send everyone to Urinetown if Hope is not found. Bobby and his mother Josephine hand out memos to the other Assistant Custodians in hope that they will join them. Bobby is sure that Urinetown is nothing but a lie designed to keep the poor people in fear. Lockstock catches Little Sally, but she is unfazed by his threat of Urinetown, because as she sees it, they are already in Urinetown; it "isn't so much a place as it is a metaphysical place" that they are all in, including Lockstock. She escapes before Lockstock can ask her what "metaphysical" means. ("What is Urinetown?").

Convinced that Bobby, Josephine, and Little Sally have been captured, the rebels, particularly Hot Blades Harry and Little Becky Two-Shoes, decide that the best way to get revenge on Cladwell is to kill Hope ("Snuff That Girl"). They are about to kill her when Bobby bursts in and reminds the rebels that their purpose is more than just revenge. He explains that he made a promise that all the people of the land would be free. One of the rebels reminds Bobby that the only words he said were "Run, everybody, run for your lives, run." Bobby explains that in the heat of battle the cry of freedom sounds something like ("Run, Freedom, Run!"). Invigorated, the poor rally around Bobby, but balk at his statement that the violent fight could take decades. Just then, Pennywise bursts into the secret hideout telling Bobby that Cladwell wants him to come to the UGC headquarters. Bobby goes, but only after being reminded by the impatient rebels that if anything happens to him, Hope will be killed. Pennywise fiercely swears that if any of the rebels harm Hope, she will have Bobby sent off to Urinetown. Bobby says goodbye to Hope, apologizes, and tells her to think of what they have ("Follow Your Heart - Reprise").

At the UGC headquarters, Bobby is offered a suitcase full of cash and full amnesty to the rebels as long as Hope is returned and the people agree to the new fee hikes. Bobby refuses, and demands free access for the people. Cladwell orders the cops to escort Bobby to Urinetown—even if it means that the rebel poor will kill Hope. Horrified, Pennywise marvels at the depth of Cladwell's evil. Cladwell has her arrested as well. She, Hope, and Fipp sing of their regrets of falling for Cladwell's schemes. Meanwhile, Bobby is led to the top of the UGC building, and learns the truth: Urinetown is death. Bobby regrets having ever listened to his heart. Lockstock and Barrel throw him off the building ("Why Did I Listen To That Man?"), killing him.

Little Sally returns to the hideout in a shocked daze, having just heard Bobby's last words. The ghost of Bobby sings, along with Little Sally, his last words, which are directed to Hope ("Tell Her I Love Her"). His last words encourage the rebels "to fight for what they know is right," and that "the time is always now." Just as the rebels are about to murder Hope in revenge, Pennywise enters and offers herself instead, proclaiming herself to be Hope's mother. The poor reel back, shocked by this unexpected twist. Hope convinces the rebels to let her lead them, and she, Penny, and the poor march to the offices of UGC. On the way, they kill Officer Barrel (who had just confessed his love to Officer Lockstock), Senator Fipp, and Mrs. Millennium (“We're Not Sorry").

Hope reveals to her father that she is still alive. Cladwell is overjoyed, until the rest of the poor reveal themselves. Hope tells him that his reign of terror is over, and that he will "be sent to the same place he sent Bobby and all those who wouldn't—or couldn't—meet his criminal fee hikes". Cladwell pleads to the people that he is their only chance at seeing tomorrow, but it is no use. Pennywise and Cladwell reminisce about their past romance ("We're Not Sorry (Reprise)"). Cladwell is led to the roof, shouting that he regrets nothing, and however cruel he might have been, he "kept the pee off the street and the water in the ground." He is thrown off.

With the town at peace at last, the age of fear is over and the people look forward to a bright new day. The Urine Good Company is renamed "The Bobby Strong Memorial Toilet Authority" and the people are henceforth allowed "to pee whenever they like, as much as they like, for as long as they like, and with whomever they like" ("I See A River").

Songs from musical: Urinetown the Musical Songs Lyrics
Urinetown the Musical Synopsis Plot