The Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company will finally bring its anticipated musical production Urinetown to the Great Southern community after COVID-19 forced its postponement three months ago. Set in a town suffering severe water restrictions due to a long drought, Urinetown is a satirical musical comedy with all the usual ingredients of good v evil, love, power and rebellion. Water is very scarce, causing private toilets to be banned, and as a result citizens have to use public toilets controlled by an evil multinational corporation. If they can’t pay to use them, they are exiled to a mystical place called Urinetown and never seen or heard from again. Money-hungry corporations, corrupt officials, populism and even musical theatre itself are in the firing line. Written in the late 1990s by Greg Kotis and premiering on Broadway in 2001, the original production won three Tony Awards. Urinetown, at The Albany Port Theatre, is directed by Airell Hodgkinson and will open on Friday, September 4. Hodgkinson said the local cast and crew were looking forward to the production finally going ahead. “We were halfway through rehearsals when COVID-19 hit so we are very excited now,” he said. “The biggest challenge has been the insecurity of when we were going to be shut down and when reopen again.” The production features a local cast of 20 actors and three stagehands, accompanied by a live jazz band conducted by musical director James Turner. Ranging from ages 14-70, the cast includes Darian Le Page as Officer Lockstock, Madelyn Marsh as Little Sally, Hunter Ewen as Bobby Strong, Bonnie Staude as Hope Cladwell, and Jenny Tetlow as Penelope Pennywise. Hodgkinson said the audience could expect a fun and lively production. “People can expect a show that’s different — it’s certainly not a Disney musical and it’s got some really catchy music,” he said. “Although the name might seem a bit crass and vulgar it’s actually not at all. “It’s very clean and witty — the dirtiest part is the title.” Hodgkinson said the musical was a chance to do something different in Albany. “Personally I really enjoy bringing something different to Albany. I think theatre and arts are there to, if not challenge people, ... at least make people think and get something out of it,” he said. Hodgkinson said the musical was very fitting for a regional city given the conditions some Great Southern farmers were experiencing. “That was one of the reasons why the company was persuaded to do it, when we chose it towards the end of last year, it was just before the big bushfires happened,” he said. Themes of environmental responsibility, popular government and social justice also spread important messages throughout the show. This is the third ALOTCo production by Hodgkinson, who also directed Monty Python’s Spamalot in 2016 and Little Shop of Horrors in 2018. As the first theatre production since the COVID-19 outbreak, Hodgkinson encouraged people to support local talent. Urinetown is at the Albany Port Theatre for the first three weekends in September. Tickets at paperbarks.com.au.