After a rousing Overture, Urinetown begins with a friendly welcome from our narrator, Officer Lockstock. Officer Lockstock and the adorable moppet Little Sally fill us in on the back story during the opening numbers, Too Much Exposition and Urinetown. A twenty-year drought has caused a terrible water shortage, making private toilets unthinkable. All restroom activities are done in public amenities (that is, public toilets) controlled by a private corporation, the Urine Good Company (UGC for short). To control water consumption, people have to pay to use the amenities. "That," as Lockstock says, "is the central conceit of the show." There are harsh laws ensuring that people pay to pee, and if they are broken, the perpetrator is sent to a place called "Urinetown", from which none return.
Urinetown: The Musical! The show is meant to be a comedy, featuring satire of the corporate world, sight gags, parodies of musical theatre conventions in general and Les Misérables in particular, and jokes that poke fun at the show itself (including the unattractive title).