Mark Hollmann
Too Much Exposition
[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Well, hello there. And welcome—to Urinetown! Not the place, of course. The musical. Urinetown "the place" is... well, it's a place you'll hear people referring to a lot throughout the show. 

[PENNY, spoken]
You hear the news? They carted Old So-and-So off to Urinetown the other day. 

[BOBBY, spoken]
Is that so? What'd he do?

[PENNY, spoken]
Oh, such-and-such, I hear. 

[BOBBY, spoken]
Well, what do you know. Old So-and-So

[LOCKSTOCK]
It's kind of a mythical place, you understand? A bad place. A place you won't see until Act Two. And then? Well, let's just say it's filled with symbolism and things like that. 

But Urinetown "the musical", well, here we are. Welcome. It takes place in a town like any town that you might find in a musical. This here's the first setting for the show. As the sign says, it's a "public amenity," meaning, public toilet. These people have been waiting for hours to get in. It's the only amenity that they can afford to get into. 

[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
Say, Officer Lockstock, is this where you tell the audience about the water shortage?

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
What's that, Little Sally?

[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
You know, the water shortage. The hard times. The drought. A shortage so awful that private toilets eventually became unthinkable. A premise so absurd that—

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Whoa there, Little Sally. Not all at once. They'll hear more about the water shortage in the next scene. 

[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
Oh, I guess you don't want to overload them with too much exposition, huh?

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Everything in its time, Little Sally. You're too young to understand it now, but nothing can kill a show like too much exposition. 
[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
How about bad subject matter?

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Well—

[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
Or a bad t**le, even? That could kill a show pretty good. 

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Well, Little Sally, suffice it to say that in Urinetown (the musical) everyone has to use public bathrooms in order to take care of their private business. That's the central conceit of the show!
(sung)
Better hope your pennies
Add up to the fee
We can't have you peeing for free
If you do, we'll catch you
We, we never fail!
And we never bother with jail

[ENSEMBLE]
You'll get Urinetown!
Off you'll go to Urinetown!
Away with you to Urinetown!

[LOCKSTOCK]
You won't need bail
(spoken)
Later on, you'll learn that these "public bathrooms" are controlled by a private company. They keep admission high, generally, so if you're down on your luck, you have to come to a place like this—one of the poorest, filthiest urinals in town. 
[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
And you can't just go in the bushes either. There's laws against it. 

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
That's right, Little Sally. Harsh laws, too. That's why Little Sally here's counting her pennies. Isn't that so, Little Sally?

[LITTLE SALLY, spoken]
I'm very close, Officer. Only a few pennies away. 

[LOCKSTOCK, spoken]
Aren't we all, Little Sally? Aren't we all. 

Well, we've talked on long enough, I imagine. Enjoy the show, and welcome—to Urinetown (the musical)!