Who knew that “Urinetown” was only the beginning? Or to be more precise, the middle?
The long-running tuner put in its 965th and final performance on Sunday. But its Tony-winning creatives Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis have already put together a prequel to their story of a place where people must pay a fee to pee.
“The story is totally original,” said Hollmann, “and we consider this one to be another part of a trilogy, of which ‘Urinetown’ is the center piece. This one will be the first installment of a trilogy.”
“It might just be unproduceable,” offered Kotis.
Hollmann qualified his collaborator’s comment of skepticism. “It is unproduceable in the same way we thought ‘Urinetown’ was unproduceable. Its subject matter is absurd and risque,” he said of “the secret project.” “But we do hope to see it produced.”
While sequels and prequels to musicals are few and far between, they have almost always struggled. “Annie Warbucks” and “Bring Back Birdie,” for example did little for the legacies of the originals. Current Broadway tuner “Wicked” is a prequel of sorts, predating “The Wizard of Oz.”
The two scribes anticipate an April reading.
It could be a busy spring. They’re also collaborating on the score for a musical version of Alec Guinness film classic “The Man in the White Suit.”
ICM’s Susan Anderson acquired the rights from Canal Plus — “I got Sam Cohn involved, and he helped with some telephone calls,” she said — and put together a creative team with her fellow producer, Marc Segan. Book writer is Austin Pendleton. Ann Reinking directs.
In the 1951 film, Guinness played an inventor who develops a fabric that won’t wear out, much to the alarm of garment manufacturers.
Hollmann thinks the story has the right hero for a musical. “The character is so driven. He has a vision,” said the composer-lyricist. “He stops at nothing to pursue it.”