Flushed over Urinetown

Flushed over Urinetown

Over the past decade, Lisa McCune appeared to talk to everyone, as she was regularly featured in all the magazines as the country’s favourite TV cover girl.

So it has to be said McCune almost seems pleased as she sits down to talk with the Star about her role in the musical Urinetown and admits she has never spoken with the gay media before.

And I really don’t know why that is, she says. I am not sure if Maggie Doyle on Blue Heelers ever had a lesbian following, and I have not played a lesbian yet, so maybe that’s why.

But with a cheeky grin, McCune then adds, Maybe that is something I can add to Hope [her Urinetown character]. Maybe she is a lesbian after all. I might try that during the Sydney season -“ let’s see if anyone can pick it.

McCune played Hope in the show’s hit 2004 Melbourne season and has also starred on stage in The Sound Of Music and Cabaret. Now as she is about to reprise her role as the feisty romantic leading lady of Urinetown, she admits adding to the character is what she hopes will make this new season rewarding.

I have tried to take elements of all the great musical theatre heroines and roll them into one, McCune says.

Hope is young and passionate and has all the great attributes the great heroines do, and she comes through in the end to become a gutsy, strong woman.

Urinetown won three of Broadway’s Tony Awards and was nominated as Best Musical, and this production’s all-star cast includes Rhonda Burchmore, Shane Bourne, Gerry Connolly and David Campbell.

The show tells the dark and politically charged story of a drought-stricken town which has outlawed the use of private toilets, and public toilets may only be used at a cost.

When the company controlling the system is revealed to be corrupt, the poor of the town revolt and demand a range of reforms. Once those reforms are granted, however, life is not quite as free as they had expected.

Accompanying the hilariously bizarre story is a musical score which offers a pastiche of some of the greatest stage musicals like Grease, West Side Story and Les Mis?bles.

This really is the show for people who don’t like musicals, McCune says. So many people have said to me afterwards that while they don’t like musicals they really liked this.

The story is a bit -˜out there’ because it is so dark, but there is also a familiarity to the songs as you feel like you have heard them all before, because they have been written in the style of all those great old shows.

But while theatre lovers can enjoy spotting the references to hit shows gone by, McCune believes it is the darkness of the story which lingers on after the curtain comes down.

There is a human ideal entrenched in the core of the piece that one person could control everyone over a basic human need, she says. It is about the cycle of human experience, but you can forget that as it is wrapped up in this beautiful box of a show. But as you pull away at the bows, you start to see the layers of the story. I think this town will get it.


Urinetown opens 13 June for a limited season at Sydney Theatre. Bookings on 9250 1777.

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