At The 5th Avenue Theatre, we believe in the power of good storytelling, and we believe that the most powerful form of storytelling is musical theater. Subscribing is the only way to guarantee your seats to the national tour of COME FROM AWAY, Broadway's sellout hit about the very best of humanity on one of the darkest days in recent memory. Not only that, subscribing means you will get to savor our timely recreation of WEST SIDE STORY, an iconic musical theater masterpiece; play your part in the creation of a glorious new musical about a controversial Parisian work of art, LITTLE DANCER; and more.
All season long, The 5th has big plans to tell you big stories in new, exciting and original ways.
YOU are an integral part of our 5th Avenue Theatre story. Become a 2018/19 subscriber today!
Book, Music and Lyrics by Irene Sankoff & David Hein
Directed by Christopher Ashley
The 5th proudly launches the North American tour of the sell-out sensation that began its journey right here in our basement rehearsal halls. The Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award-winner takes you into the heart of the remarkable story of 7,000 stranded airline passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that embraced them. On 9/11, the world stopped. On 9/12, their stories moved us all. This is a musical that changes you, heals old wounds and lifts the spirit. Join us for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to christen a new production and send it on its way around the country.
Please note: Come From Away is only available as part of a 4+ show package
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Book by Thomas Meehan
Directed by Billie Wildrick
This holiday season, bring everyone you know to see The 5th's exciting new production of this fantastic show. Join Annie, Sandy, Daddy Warbucks and the wicked Miss Hannigan for one of the best theater experiences you will ever have. Laced with unforgettable stories and songs including "Tomorrow," "It's a Hard Knock Life," "Easy Street" and so many others, this is a musical that will stay with you for a lifetime--no matter how old you are. A magical, musical thrill for the entire family.
Book by Chris D'Arienzo
Arrangements and Orchestrations by Ethan Popp
Directed by Lisa Shriver
Wonderfully funny, occasionally zany, and riddled with scorching songs, Rock of Ages is an unforgettable '80s rock ballad blast that spent six years on Broadway as well as sold out productions around the world. Rock of Ages is the story of a small town girl and a city boy, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock 'n' roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Styx, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Joan Jett, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister and more. If you liked our production of Mamma Mia!, you are going to LOVE our Rock of Ages.
Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Directed & Choreographed by Susan Stroman
The 5th Avenue Theatre brings you an exquisite new musical based on a famed masterpiece by Edgar Degas and the unknown dancer who inspired it. Part fact, part fiction and set in the glamorous and dangerous backstage world of the Paris Opera Ballet, this magnificent new musical follows a young woman caught between the conflicting demands of life and art, and an artist with one last chance for greatness. Little Dancer is a sumptuous masterpiece bound for the world stage; Seattle will have a front row seat at its creation.
Music and Lyrics by Mark Hollmann
Book and Lyrics by Greg Kotis
Directed by Bill Berry
A co-production with and presented at ACT - A Contemporary Theatre
This hilarious multi-Tony Award nominee is an outrageous satire set in a fictional future where a terrible 20-year drought has crippled the city's water supplies. The citizens must now use the public pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company. Citizens who try to circumvent the peeing-fee by relieving themselves in the bushes risk being taken away to "Urinetown," a mysterious place where many have been sent but no one ever returns. With fee increases in the pipeline, the poor rise up to fight the tyrranical to make the public amenities free for all to use. Urinetown is a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love and revolution.
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Arthur Laurents
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Directed by Bill Berry
Presented in association with Spectrum Dance Theatre
Revel in the transcendent majesty of storytelling at its finest. The 5th Avenue Theatre is calling on the full breadth and depth of its artistic resources to stage an unforgettable production of West Side Story. This is musical theater as only The 5th can do it: with a cast of 40 of the finest performers ever to grace our stage, a 25-piece orchestra and the highest levels of talent, passion and artistic dedication bar none. The dancing will bring you to the edge of your seat; the music will resonate deep in your soul; the story will lift you to the heights of passion. Do not miss this show.
The Lightning Thief is an add-on, and is not currently available for purchase online or with a subscription. To add tickets for this show, please call our Guest Services team at 206.625.1900.
Music and Lyrics by Rob Rokicki
Book by Joe Tracz
A musical adventure based on the New York Times Best-Seller. This "winning adaptation" (The Hollywood Reporter) of the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is "electrifying!" (Newsday). The Greek gods are real, and they're ruining Percy Jackson's life. As a son of Poseidon, Percy has newly discovered powers he can't control, Monsters on his trail and is on an epic quest to find Zeus's lightning bolt to prevent a war between the gods. Nominated for three Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, The Lightning Thief is "mesmerizing" and proves "lightning can strike twice!" (TheaterMania).
The 5th Avenue provides American Sign Language-interpreted performances for hard-of-hearing and deaf patrons. Reserved seating located close to the ASL interpreters is available. Ticket prices for ASL performances vary. To purchase tickets to individual ASL performances online, visit www.5thavenue.org/asl.
To purchase ASL tickets on a mobile device, select the ASL interpreted date you want to attend. Enter promo code ASL by tapping on the box under the show title. Once your code is applied, tap "Get Tickets" to select your seats in the front of the orchestra level on the left side of the house.
ASL Performance Schedule-2017/18 Season
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Saturday, June 2 8:00 PM;
Saturday, June 9 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM;
Friday, June 15 8:00 PM;
Sunday, June 17 7:00 PM;
Friday, June 22 8:00 PM;
Saturday, June 23 8:00 PM
The 5th Avenue Theater has Sennheiser Listening System headsets for patrons who are hard-of-hearing. We also offer inductive neck loops. Both devices are complimentary, but subject to availability. You may reserve a headset when you purchase your tickets. To reserve your headset, visit the Box Office, call 206-625-1900 or 888-584-4849 (voice), or e-mail GuestServices@5thavenue.org.
Using the Sennheiser Listening System, the 5th Avenue offers select audio-described performances for visually impaired and blind patrons. The Sennheiser Listening System works throughout the auditorium so you may purchase tickets in any section of the theater. For more information, please visit the Box Office, email GuestServices@5thavenue.org or call 206-625-1900 or 888-584-4849.
Audio Described Performance Schedule-2017/18 Season
Hunchback of Notre Dame Saturday June 23 2:00 PM
Open captioning designed for those with mild to complete hearing loss so you can enjoy theater as never before. Performances with this new service feature a text display located to one side of the stage. The dialogue and lyrics of the show scroll across the display in synchronicity with the actual performance. Now you can catch quick punch lines, fast-patter lyrics, and hushed dialogue. For more information, please visit the Box Office, email GuestServices@5thavenue.org or call 206-625-1900 or 888-584-4849.
Ride the Cyclone (at ACT) Various - check dates here
Hunchback of Notre Dame Thursday June 21 7:30 PM
Wheelchair seating space is located on the orchestra level (main floor) of the auditorium. The seating is located House Right at the end of rows F, K and P , and House Left at the end of rows G, J and Q. If no wheelchair seats are available on the website please contact Guest Services by calling 206.625.1900 or emailing GuestServices@5thavenue.org.
If you’re seated on the balcony level and stairs present a challenge, we can provide you with elevator assistance. However, please note that all balcony seating involves negotiating some stairs. You may proceed directly to the lobby of Skinner Building (located at 1326 5th Avenue, 4 doors north of the Theatre's main entrance) where an usher will meet and assist you. You may also request assistance when you arrive at the Theater doors.
Braille and large print programs are both available, free of charge, at Coat Check, located in the lobby near Aisle 3. Programs are checked out with a valid ID and should please be returned at the end of the performance. Braille programs are subject to availability.
If you would like a script and book light to use during a performance, please request one at Coat Check, located in the lobby near Aisle 3. Scripts may checked out with photo ID, and are subject to availability on a show-by-show basis. To reserve a script and book light, please call the Guest Services at 206.625.1900 or e-mail GuestServices@5thavenue.org.
The parking garages at City Centre and LAZ 6th Ave both have accessible parking and elevators and are located within one block of the Theatre.
LAZ 6th Ave Garage is connected to the Theatre via an underground concourse; however, if you are in a wheelchair, it will be faster to exit on the street level, not the concourse level, and go around the block to the Theatre’s marquee entrance. If you would prefer using the concourse level, you will need to be escorted by one of the 5th Avenue Theatre ushers to the Skinner Building’s elevators. If you do not see one of our ushers at the bottom of the stairs leading up to The 5th Avenue Theatre, please call coat check at 206-625-1294. The building’s elevators will take you to the Skinner Lobby, and you will then still have to go outside and travel one-half of a block uphill to the Theatre’s marquee entrance. Please be advised: the LAZ 6th Ave Garage is also the busiest of our partner garages on show days, so please expect longer wait times before and after the show.
Please note: Content guidelines are based solely on the text of the script. We create our shows just for you, so there is often sensitive content based on the actual direction of the show which we are not aware of until the show opens. Additional content warnings will be posted in the lobby when you attend a performance, or you can call our Guest Services team for more information, once a show has opened, at 206.625.1900.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is adapted from the classic novel by Victor Hugo; the music is by Alan Menken, the lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It tells the story of Quasimodo, the son of an archdeacon’s brother and a gypsy girl, who grows up in Notre Dame cathedral. He is told by Claude Frollo, his uncle and keeper, that he is deformed and ugly and must stay hidden.
A couple of “hells” are heard and one “damnation.” The townspeople call Esmerelda a “gypsy whore.”
Jehan brings his pious brother, Claude, a gypsy girl as a birthday gift, which is refused. Jehan and the girl leave together; their illegitimate son, who has a hump on his back, will later be given to Claude, who has risen to the position of archdeacon.
Esmerelda, the gypsy girl, dances before the crowd: Claude Frollo, Phoebus, and Quasimodo are all entranced by her as she sings: “Before we get old / Come feel the heat / Come taste the desire / Feel them within you.”
Frollo offers to teach Esmerelda and save her soul; she is frightened, as she can see his attraction to her. When she resists, he threatens her with arrest if she enters the cathedral again. Frollo then confesses his lust to God, but blames it on the “gypsy witch.”
We see Phoebus seek Esmerelda out and then see them awaken together in the morning, indicating they have become lovers.
Soldiers searching for Esmerelda, who has been accused of witchcraft, seek her out in a brothel that is known to provide help for gypsies.
Claude Frollo considers throwing a child (who has been left in his keeping) into the abyss, but changes his mind.
Phoebus, a soldier back from the front, arrives to join the Cathedral Guard; he sings of the deaths he has witnessed: “I’m far away from battle / the clotting blood and rotting wounds / Of dead and dying men.”
When Quasimodo is named king of the day, the crowd begins to throw objects at him, then to beat him; Frollo refuses to stop them right away, but Esmerelda calls it a halt.
Frollo decides that the gypsy girl he is infatuated with “will be mine or she will burn.” When she is captured, he embraces her and she claws at his cheek to get away.
Frollo slaps Quasimodo after Esmerelda visits, accusing him of “impure thoughts.”
Esmerelda puts a knife to Phoebus’s throat when she thinks he will arrest her; he disarms her, but she elbows him and retrieves her knife.
A character is stabbed in the back (but not killed) when soldiers attempt to arrest Esmerelda.
Claude Frollo’s pleasure-loving brother Jehan is seen drinking in the cathedral.
The archdeacon, Frollo, objects to the annual “Feast of the Fools,” the only time “foreigners, gypsies, and criminals” are allowed to wander the city freely without fear of arrest.
Esmerelda prays when she enters the cathedral for the first time: “Please help my people / The poor and down-trod / I thought we were all / The children of God.”
Come From Away, the national tour of this Tony-nominated Broadway hit, is the true story of what happened when 38 planes were diverted to the tiny town of Gander, on the island of Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001. This inspiring and uplifting musical vividly shows us that even in the darkest of times, good people can provide enough light to see hope for the future.
The “f” word is used a couple of times, only as an expletive rather than a sexual term. Oz, a cop, observes that when he stops drivers who are in a hurry, he writes them a warning ticket: “I’ll write STFD. Slow the f-k down!” A passenger on one of the planes (which have been sitting on the tarmac a full day) becomes upset with a distressed and claustrophobic woman: “Excuse me! Would you like some Xanax? Because you are freaking out and it is freaking me out and we all FREAKING THE F-K OUT!!!”
Other than the above, the language is very mild. The residents of Gander use a few vulgar or profane expressions in response to the unprecedented situation: “Jesus, that’s a jumbo! There’s gotta be two-fifty or two hundred on her!” says Oz, who adds, “Holy shit!” when he adds up the total number of passengers.
The tired and stressed-out passengers have no idea what is happening (few have cell phones and those on board don’t work), so they exchange rumors (“The White House was bombed!” “It’s World War III!”). The flight attendants begin serving free liquor: “Soon everyone got friendlier / We didn’t know where we were / But we knew that we were hammered.”
Kevin J. and Kevin T., a gay couple, take out a bottle of Grey Goose they had been hiding and share it with the others.
Nick (from England) and Diane (from Texas) meet for the first time when Nick asks, “Do you mind if I sit here? I need to get some work done and there’s some drunk people at the back of the plane singing at the top of their lungs.”
At one point, the passengers and townspeople meet at a local bar, and Oz describes what happens: “The hotel staff keep making runs for more beer and liquor. After an hour, people are swimming in the river out back. And no, no one brought their swim trunks.” Later, passengers who agree to become honorary Newfoundlanders are given a sip (or more) of a potent local brew called “Screech.”
Conflict breaks out when another passenger confronts Ali as he is using a phone: “Are you telling your Muslim friends where to bomb next? Go back where you came from!” (The dispute is settled peacefully.)
Two of the passengers, Kevin T. and Kevin J., are a gay couple. When Kevin T. opts to “kiss the cod” and become an honorary Newfoundlander, Kevin J. warns, “If you kiss that, I’m never kissing you again.”
Annie is adapted from the classic comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” and is set in New York in 1933. Annie is a family show. Parents concerned about content and appropriateness for their families should peruse the following details.
Almost none. A few “damns” are spoken by Oliver Warbucks.
Miss Hannigan, who runs the orphanage and is the show’s chief villain, is seen drinking, sometimes from a flask, sometimes from a bottle. She tells the orphans (who are not fooled), “It’s medicine!” and is later seen suffering from a hangover.
The guests at Annie’s adoption party are served champagne.
Miss Hannigan flirts with the laundry man, but he is not responsive. Later she will sing, “I’m an ordinary woman / with feelings / I’d like a man to nibble on my ear / But I’ll admit no man has bit / So how come I’m the mother of the year?”
Miss Hannigan is confronted by Rooster, her ne’er-do-well brother, accompanied by his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (named for the hotel). When Lily asks if Mr. Warbucks is “the millionaire,” Miss Hannigan responds, “No, the billionaire, you dumb ho . . . tel.”
Annie and Molly both indicate that their parents abandoned them; the orphans, who work on sewing machines all day, are being used for slave labor. In song, Miss Hannigan confesses she would like to wring the orphans’ necks.
As she wanders New York searching for her parents, Annie encounters homeless people, victims of the Depression, who are living in improvised shanties. She is distressed when the police break up and destroy the camp.
Rooster, who is pretending to be Annie’s father to claim a $50,000 reward, flashes a switchblade knife when asked what his plans are for her: “When the Rooster wants something to disappear, it disappears.”
Rock of Ages is a “jukebox musical” with a score of great songs from 1980s Heavy Metal bands (Styx, Twisted Sister, Poison, among others). Its story is set in and around the LA Sunset Strip in the mid to late eighties and concerns aspiring rocker Drew; innocent aspiring actress (and later stripper) Sherrie; Lonny and Dennis, who work at the Bourbon Room (a rock club); Hertz and Franz, German developers who want to destroy the strip and create a clean, pure, and efficient environment free of rock; Regina, a city planner who wants to stop them and save the strip; Stacee, a heavy metal star; and Justice, who runs a nearby strip joint.
Rock of Ages contains strong language, sexual references (sex acts take place offstage), drug references and drug use, exotic dancers, sexist remarks, and, in the manner common to heavy metal concerts, occasional direct address to the audience. It should be pointed out that the show’s depiction of heavy metal culture is done with affectionate humor and irony (tongue firmly in cheek). (Sample: the pre-show announcement informs us that “flash photography and recording devices are strictly prohibited. Unless, of course, you are really, really hot and willing to show us your breasts. Furthermore, all cell phones should be turned off, text messaging makes you look like a douchebag, and if you have one of those ‘blue tooth’ things in your ear . . . Please. Come on. You look like a dick.”) Rock of Ages may not be suitable for all audience members, and theatergoers are advised to peruse the following guidelines carefully.
Rock of Ages contains extensive use of strong language, including the “f” word (heard half a dozen times as an expletive rather than a sexual term). A few vulgar expressions, such as “shit” or “crap” are used frequently, as a a couple of “goddams,” one “Jesus!” and “Christ!” and several “hells” and “damns.” The characters are creative with insults, calling each other “asshole,” “dickweed” and “dicklickers.”
The show’s narrator interrupts a song to say that a musical needs “an f-ing love story. And quick!” He points out a woman in the audience: “She’s practically begging for it. Aren’t you, you nasty little Playbill-holding freak machine?”
A fictional heavy metal band is said to be called “Concrete Ballz.” A novice songwriter, trying to write a love song, sings, “I wanna make boobies hard!” and “She was reachin’ for my sack!” (He also comments, “That sucks,” about how it’s going.)
A character confesses to having once “shivved a guy for talking shit about Kip Winger.” Sherrie is knocked down and her purse is snatched on her first day in Los Angeles. Stacee and his guitarist get in a shoving match and then Stacee is hit in the head with the guitar.
Regina and her protesters attempt to block the developers from demolishing the Bourbon Room; they are beaten (in slow motion pantomime) by the police. Later Regina douses herself with gasoline and threatens to set herself on fire in protest.
Sherrie performs a dance for a rocker who rejected her and takes her revenge by knocking him out.
The show’s narrator Lonny announces that LA in the 80s was a “majestic acidwash epicenter. If you had a dream, a 5th of Jack, and a decent amount of hair, there was nowhere else to be.”
Two characters are seen sharing a joint; another is seen running down the streets with his pants down (there is no nudity), claiming he is “high;” when Dennis is discouraged at the prospect of losing his club, Lonny encourages him to “Chew a prozac!”
Lonnie addresses the audience: “Ever listen to Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ after speed-balling two grams of crystal meth and a six-pack diet Shasta? Rip your goddamn heart out.” He then points to a man in the audience: “He knows what I’m talking about.”
Drew brings Sherrie a six pack of wine coolers (Stacee grabs them).
Regina confesses she once jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge as a protest to legalize pot.
A depressed Hertz is seen on the street drinking from a bottle of whisky.
Rock of Ages contains quite a few sexual references, some more explicit than others.
Innocent Sherrie Christian arrives in LA hoping to make it as an actress; she is startled and excited by the people she encounters on the Sunset Strip, including a hooker. When Sherrie picks up a “lucky penny,” the boys at the Bourbon Room notice her “flawless behind,” and Dennis changes his mind about hiring her.
Dennis observes that Stacee should agree to perform because “he still owes me from that hotel incident with the cool whip and the baby llama.” Later he will blackmail Stacee to accept his offer to host the group’s last gig: “Remember when you teabagged that baby llama?”
A rock star is seen “with a swarm of groupies around him.” (Later one of the groupies will be revealed as underage, which results in the character escaping to Uruguay to avoid the police).
Sherrie is considering auditioning for a film called “Encino Hot Tub Police,” but she is unsure what is meant by “suggested fellatio,” thinking it means she needs to work on an accent.
A character uses “I have an enormous penis” to test a microphone before auditions take place at the club.
On their first date, Sherrie is shy and Drew says there’s no pressure – they are just two friends. Sherrie agrees. Lonnie, eavesdropping, winces at the mistake and observes that the inner Sherrie feels very differently in a fantasy sequence, we see Sherrie suddenly become her sexed-up inner self and mime having sex with Drew (“You’re so good / when we make love it’s understood”) but then the fantasy ends and she becomes innocent Sherrie again.
Stacee’s band hates him, Lonny admits. “But stars are undeniable. Like herpes.”
Stacee meets Sherrie and invites her into the men’s bathroom “where we can talk about our dreams and feelings and shit.” He rips off her shirt as they sing, “I want to know what love is,” and carries her into a bathroom stall. Asked by the waitress, Sherrie says it was “magical.” “His hands?” “Magical!” “What about his . . . “ “Smaller than I thought, but magical.”
Lonny announces the intermission (“All right, go get more drinks!”) and addresses a woman in the audience: “You, my dressing room. Two minutes!”
A predatory movie producer asks Sherrie, now a stripper, to meet him at his beach house, saying he sees “Molly Ringwald” potential in her. Sherrie, skeptical, says, “You got that from a ‘two for one’ lapdance?”
At the Strip Club, Stacee addresses a dancer named Candi: “Come here, you sexy little poptart! How much does two hundred bucks get me?” He is startled when Candi replies “in an alarming man’s voice”: “Two hundred bucks basically gets you four dances and a full release.”
In the number, “I Can’t Fight this Feeling,” Lonny and Dennis confess to having feelings for one another.
Little Dancer’s story is inspired by the famous sculpture of a young ballerina by Edgar Degas; the show is set in Paris in 1880 and 1917. Marie, the model for the sculpture, is one of the Paris Opera Ballet’s “little rats,” so called because “they’re always scurrying in the corridors. And they’re always hungry.”
Little Dancer is a brand-new musical which is still being developed, so some alterations may be made in the show’s book and lyrics during the rehearsal and preview process.
There is little adult language and it is mild. Characters throw epithets at each other when they are quarreling or have had too much to drink: “Whore!” “Selfish bitch!” “She should have kicked you in the balls long ago!” are among the insults shouted.
The “Abonnes,” wealthy gentlemen who are patrons of the ballet, have the privilege of visiting backstage to see the youngest dancers (the little girls sing, “Cue the men / In the black top hats / Wealthy men / And the little rats / We know that’s / How a girl / Sometimes gets / Something free.”) One of the men, seeing Marie’s broken toe shoes, offers to buy her new ones; she responds, “I would never take anything from a stranger!”
Marie’s mother, Martine, who is a laundress, was once a dancer: “Along comes a handsome tailor / I’m soon in the family way / And that was the end of the ballet. / What a price to pay!”
Marie’s oldest sister, Antoinette, is a high-living courtesan; her lover is Philippe, the man who offered to buy Marie’s toe shoes. She dresses Marie up and tries to instruct her: “There is a way to have your dinner bought / And to be treated to your wine.” Sexual references are indirect or innuendoes: told that Marie has attracted the attention of Christian, a musician, Antoinette remarks, “Darling, I’m sure he has a very nice instrument. But you want someone with wealth or connections.”
Marie’s mother, Martine, who has had a hard life, drinks from a flask as she irons. She is frequently drunk and her daughters, Marie and Charlotte, hide their earnings (and their booty from picking pockets) in a hole in the wall to protect it from when “Mama gets lit.”
At a café, Marie is offered a drink by a man, but Philippe sweeps it away. Marie’s mother is also at the café with her landlord: both have had too much to drink.
Martine and the landlord quarrel over who will pay the bar tab and begin slapping at each other; Marie intervenes to defend her mother and the three begin fighting. Marie shouts at Martine about her missing money and Martine slaps her. Christian punches Philippe when he tries to pressure her into letting him be her patron. Antoinette slaps Philippe when she learns of his attentions to Marie.
Urinetown, which ran on Broadway from 2001 to 2004 and won Tonys for Best Book and Best Score in 2002, is a satirical comedy that lampoons political corruption, economic inequality and irresponsible handling of the environment.
In the world of Urinetown, as Officer Lockstock informs us, “Everyone has to use public bathrooms to take care of their private business;” this is the result of a catastrophic twenty-year drought, which has made water scarce and precious. As the play opens, The Poor are waiting in front of “Public Amenity # 9”; admission is high (the facilities are run by a private corporation – Urine Good Company), so the Poor must wait in line for hours to use “the poorest, filthiest urinal in town.” Anyone caught “peeing for free” is exiled to the mythical Urinetown. As the guardian of “Public Amenity #9 sings, “The politicians in their wisdom saw/That there should be a law.”
Adult language is mild in Urinetown (there is some use of “damned” and “damn it”), but there is a lot of bathroom humor. Ms. Pennywise, who manages Public Amenity #9, sings, “The Good Lord made us so we’d piss each day / Until we piss away.”
Cladwell, the owner of Urine Good Company, observes to his staff: “I made flushing mean flush at the bank/I’m the man with the plan/So who should you thank?”
A character is unable to wait and begins peeing in public, objecting, “This is no way to live!” (There is no nudity.) The police arrive to arrest him for breaking the Public Health Act, an exiling offense.
Senator Fipp, a corrupt politician being bribed by UGC, meets Hope, the young daughter of Cladwell; innocent and idealistic, she has just finished school. The senator attempts to flirt with her, and is quickly dismissed by Cladwell.
Officer Lockstock, a crooked cop, also attempts to flirt with Hope. He says her father failed to mention “the size and purity of your beauty” and kisses Hope’s hand. “Does beauty have a size, Officer?” Hope asks.
When it looks as if the rebel poor will kill Hope, a character confesses to being her (unwed) mother.
A character is dragged off by the police for deportation to Urinetown when he is unable to pay for access to a public facility.
When asked what Urinetown is like, Officer Lockstock demurs: “Its power depends on mystery. I can’t just blurt it out, like ‘There is no Urinetown! We just kill people!’ Oh, no. The information must be oozed out slowly until it bursts forth in one mighty cathartic moment. Somewhere in Act Two.”
Bobby Strong, who becomes the leader of the Rebel Poor, believes that “Urinetown’s a lie/A means to keep the poor in check/Until the day they die.”
Little Sally, on the other hand, believes Urinetown is “here/It’s the town wherever/ People learn to live in fear.”
Eventually, the poor people at Public Facility #9 refuse to pay, rescind the Public Health Act and the Water Preservation Act and begin “peeing for free.”
They revolt and seize the company head’s daughter (Hope) as a hostage.
They threaten to string her up in the song, “Snuff That Girl.” (Bobby arrives to object: “This has got to be about more than revenge and stringing up someone who can’t defend herself.”)
A character is arrested and fights with her captors as they attempt to deliver her to Urinetown; she escapes. Another character is taken to “Urinetown,” which turns out to be the roof of the UGC, where he is to be thrown off.
One of the policemen is killed in an attack by the Rebel Poor.
As the chorus of the Poor sings, “Rich folks get the good life / Poor folks get the woe; / In the end it’s nothing you don’t know.” The poor beg for pennies for a pee; Ms. Pennywise, who guards the door and collects the money, informs them, “No one’s getting’ anywhere for free! Don’t you think I have bills of my own to pay?! Don’t you think I have taxes and tariffs and payoffs to meet too?” She tells them, “It’s a privilege to pee / Water’s worth its weight in gold these days.”
Meanwhile Senator Fipp is waiting for the “dough” he will get from the hike in facility fees (if the vote passes) so he can escape on a “fact-finding” mission to Rio. He is worried that it’s a “powder keg” out there because of possible public reaction. Hope, assured that this is all for the general welfare, innocently remarks, “Gosh, I never realized large monopolizing corporations could be such a force for good in the world!”
Bobby, as he leads the Rebel Poor, declares he made himself “A promise that from this day on, no one man would be denied his essential humanity because of the condition of his pocketbook. That no man in need would be ignored by another with the means to help him. Here and now, from this day forward, because of you, and you, and you, we will look into the faces of our fellow man and see not only a brother, but a sister as well.” (The idealism of the rebels and even the innocent Hope is eventually undercut, however, because it turns out they have no solution for the water shortage.)
West Side Story is an American version of Romeo and Juliet and it follows the play’s plot very closely. While Shakespeare’s tale concerns feuding aristocratic families in 15th Century Verona, West Side Story’s creators (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents, choreography by Jerome Robbins) focus on a clash between second-generation Americans and newly-arrived Puerto Ricans in 1950s New York.
There is a little vulgar language, but it is very mild. Lt. Schrank, for instance, threatens to “beat the crap out of every one of you and then run you in!”
The conflict between the characters is fueled by racial prejudice, which is illustrated by the racist language used. Lieutenant Schrank, the cop on the beat, is openly racist in his remarks to the Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang (“Boy what you Puerto Ricans have done to this neighborhood.” “Get your trash out of here!” To the Jets: “I gotta put up with them and so do you!”). Later at Doc’s Candy Store, Schrank will be even more explicit: “Clear out, Spics. Sure it’s a free country and I ain’t got the right. But it’s a country with laws: and I can find the right. I got the badge, you got the skin. It’s tough all over. Beat it!” When the Jets refuse to cooperate with Lt. Schrank, he shouts, “You oughta be taken down to the station house and have your skulls mashed to pulp! You and the tin horn immigrant scum you came from!”
The Jets complain that the Puerto Ricans are “ruinin’ free enterprise.” Bernardo and the sharks, on the other hand, point out that Tony is a “Polack”: “The mother of Tony was born in Poland; Tony was born in America, so that makes him an American. But us? Foreigners! Lice! Cockroaches!” The war council between the Jets and the Sharks escalates into racial epithets: “Move where you’re wanted!” “Back where ya came from!” “Spics!” “Micks!” “Wop!”
These are implied rather than explicit. Anybodys, a girl and a wanna-be Jet, pleads: “How about me gettin’ in the gang now?” A-rab responds: “How about the gang gettin’ in – ahhh, who’d wanta?” Later when she makes fun of Baby John (“You let him be a Jet!”), he responds, “Ah, go walk the streets like ya sister.” Trying to taunt the Jets into giving him information about the coming rumble, Lt. Schrank asks one of them, “How’s the action on your mother’s mattress, Action?”
Maria pleads with Anita to lower the neck of her gown: “It is now to be dress for dancing, no longer for kneeling in front of an altar.” Anita replies, “With those boys, you can start out dancing and end up kneeling.” When Anita says Puerto Ricans came to America “ready, eager, with our hearts open,” Consuela echoes, “Our arms open -” and her boyfriend counters, “You came with your pants open.”
Anita, waiting for Bernardo to return from the rumble, sings, “He’ll walk in hot and tired / So what? / Don’t matter if he’s tired / As long he’s hot / Tonight!”
After the Sharks and the Jets rumble, Tony and Maria meet in Maria’s bedroom; they kiss and embrace and the lights go down. Later they are seen asleep in the bed (there is no nudity).
The “Jet Song” observes that “When you’re a Jet, / You’re a Jet all the way / From your first cigarette / To your last dyin’ day.”
In the song “Gee Officer Krupke,” the Jets derisively claim that their delinquency is a result of their upbringing: “Our mothers all are junkies / Our fathers all are drunks / Golly Moses – Natcherly we’re punks! . . . Dear kindly judge, your honor / My parents treat me rough / With all their marijuana / They won’t give me a puff. / They didn’t wanna have me / But somehow I was had. / Leapin’ lizards – that’s why I’m so bad!” In a mocking confession to an “analyst,” another Jet declares, “My grandpa’s always plastered / My grandma pushes tea” (marijuana).
Like Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story begins with a brawl between rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks; the fighting is stylized and choreographed.
Two characters die in a knife fight, and a third is shot and killed; the deaths occur onstage.
In the “taunting scene,” Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend is insulted (“Bernardo’s tramp!” “Lyin’ spic!”); she is pushed, jeered at, and forced to lunge for her shawl. The attempted rape that ensues is highly stylized and choreographed rather than being depicted graphically or realistically; there is no nudity, no explicitly sexual gestures and no overt violence.
The Lightning Thief, based on a best-selling young adult novel, takes place in a world where the Greek gods are real and causing a lot of trouble for Percy Jackson (he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years, and has just discovered he’s the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea). Intrigued by the new powers he’s learning to control and encouraged by the company of other young half-bloods (who lament, “Oh, things couldn’t be worse / When your parents run the universe”), Percy sets off on a quest to find the lightning bolt of Zeus, defeat the monsters following him, and prevent a war between the gods. He encounters a number of legendary opponents, including the Furies, Medusa, the minotaur, and the shadowy Hades, king of the Underworld. “Judging from the enthusiastic reactions of the tweens surrounding me, this musical is worthy of the gods. But with its campy humor, clever no-tech effects, and agreeable pop-rock tunes, it offers pleasures for mere mortal grown-ups, too” (Time Out/New York).
The Lightning Thief is recommended for families with school-aged children, particularly those 8 and older. Parents are encouraged to peruse the following advisories to ensure that the show is suitable for their family members.
None. The characters do refer to “Dam snacks,” but this is a reference to Hoover Dam, not a swear word, although it could be mistaken for “damn.”
The Lightning Thief contains onstage combat with swords and knives; the show also includes monsters, which might be scary for younger children.
In a song lyric, Sally implies that she and Poseidon conceived Percy on the beach: “He was handsome and strong / And before too long / You came to exist.” Selena complains of her mother, Aphrodite, the goddess of love: “I try to seek help / From even the Fates / But she steals my mascara and all of my dates.”
“I was reading these books in my 20s, but was still figuring out what to do with my life. I’d technically come of age already, but the feeling that you’re living in someone else’s world never really goes away. Young adult fiction depicts that so well. In Lightning Thief, the Gods have created the world, but then vacated it to hang out at the top of the Empire State Building—leaving the rest of us to figure out where we fit in.” -- Joe Tracz, author of Lightning Thief’s script