Pete Widtfeldt
From left, Amber Dodge, Rachel Lynn Woodward and Alex King in the Hale Center Theater of Orem production of "Urinetown."

OREM — The director of "Urinetown" opening on the Hale Center Theater Orem's stage May 2, agrees that the name of the musical comedy is a stinker.

"It really is an awful title. Intentionally provocative I think," director Dave Tinney said. "Whether people find it offensive or funny, or simply intriguing, I think the author's intent was to wake people up and to make them investigate it."

Beyond that, Tinney finds the show a "really brilliantly crafted satire."

"It explores the idea of a not-so-distant future where limited natural resources force the government to outlaw private restrooms and to hire private corporations to regulate public restrooms," Tinney said.

"That description makes it sound really serious, but the authors use the musical theatre format (and make fun of all musicals while doing it) to create a hilarious parable," he added.

Tinney said if people in the audience can look past the silliness, they could find profound ideas as well as satisfying entertainment, a funny-yet-fair story about keeping a balance in society.

"It is satire in the tradition of Mark Twain. Fun, charming, but very smart and very sharp," he said. "It holds a mirror up to the audience — granted a fun-house mirror."

There are familiar cast members as well as new faces in the show, which Tinney recommends for older children and teenagers up.

Those familiar names include Jayne Luke, Chris H. Brower, Rachel Lynn Woodward and Chase Ramsey.

Tinney said it always bends his brain to put a show on in the Hale Center round theatrical space. "This show is no exception. It's like watching live film, like you have a live close-up shot."

If you go …

What: "Urinetown"

Where: Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North

When: 7:30 p.m., May 2-June 15


Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at