Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Giovanni Ortega

Reader 2

Arthur Horowitz

Reader 3

Ronnie Brosterman

Rights Information

© 2016 Katherine B. Marcus Reker


This thesis proposes a critical study of the theoretical framework of Urinetown, asking the question of whether or not the show is truly a “Brechtian musical,” utilizing the tenets and beliefs of Bertolt Brecht. Set in a quirky, Gotham-like town where you have “to pay to pee” due to a severe drought, Urinetown follows a cast of absurdist characters as they navigate a society plagued by the perils of big business, ecological devastation, and the inequalities of capitalism. While the show appears to make a relevant social commentary, supporting a righteous rebellion to overthrow the evil Urine Good Company, in the end, by proving that revolution does not always succeed, writers, Kotis and Hollman invalidate these commentaries, proving that despite its Brechtian appearance, the show in its textual form is much more simply a comedic parody. However, Pomona College’s production, in which I played Hope Cladwell, takes on a much more severe tone, creating legitimate commentary by replacing many of the comedic, two-dimensional characters with living breathing, realities. In a text traditionally lacking authenticity, I approached Hope Cladwell with the intention of finding strength and satire in an otherwise vapid character.