The show is very odd," Tony winner Greg Kotis says of his new musical, 'Yeast Nation.'
Following in the unconventional steps of their hit musical Urinetown, Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann have collaborated on a new show titled Yeast Nation. According to the Chicago Tribune, the musical will open on September 23 at the Windy City's American Theater Company, directed by its artistic director, PJ Paparelli.
Kotis explained the premise of the new show to the Tribune as follows: “Yeast Nation is set four billion years ago. All of the characters are single-cell organisms—or, if you prefer, yeasts. They all live at the bottom of the sea. They all eat only salt. And they are all named Jan.” The Tony-winning lyricist and book writer added, “The show is very odd. You’re gonna know pretty soon if you’re happy to be there, or very unhappy.”
Yeast Nation was first presented in New York workshops directed by John Rando, who received a Tony for his work on Urinetown and also directed the off-Broadway production of Kotis’ 2006 play Pig Farm. Rando later dropped out, and the new musical received its first full production in Juneau, Alaska, directed by Paparelli. In the wake of that mounting, Hollmann told the Tribune that a score with “mock operatic pretensions” was scrapped in favor of one that pokes fun at the pop-rock styles of the 1970s and 80s.
Urinetown began life at the New York International Film Festival, was produced off-Broadway in April 2001 and reopened on Broadway at Henry Miller's Theatre on September 20, 2001, where it ran for 965 performances. The show garnered 10 Tony Award nominations, winning Best Score, Best Book and Best Director.