Sunday, April 21, 2013

Urinetown: The State Action Section 2 Musical

"Who know that a greedy monopolizing corporation could also be such a force for social good?"  This line from the Loyola University Chicago drama department production of Urinetown: The Musical elicited a much louder laugh from our section of the audience in the brand new Newhart (Yes, Bob Newhart) Family theater on the main campus.  On April 13th, I put together an Antitrust Institute field trip of students, faculty, and staff to see a student production directed by Mark Lococo, an award winning Chicago director and head of the Loyola musical theater department. 

Urinetown is the story of a long drought that leads to the eventual privatization and monopolization of all toilets (to recapture and recycle all moisture).  If you can't pay for the ever increasing "Privilege to Pee" (an actual song title) you will sent to Urinteown, which may or may not be a metaphor.  Along the way many antitrust concepts are explored and numerous Broadway musicals from Les Liz to Big River are mocked.  Because the director is a college friend of my wife from Northwestern, our students also got a brief post-show visit from the director, who was somewhat baffled but pleased with our academic, as well as aesthetic, interest in the show.  Urinetown concludes its sell out run this evening. 


Urinetown was a Tony award winning musicial a few years, back but not the only show on the Great White Way to explore competition law.  If you are more interested in musical explorations of Section One (the Supreme evil of antitrust according to Scalia), I would recommend Tovarich, the 1960s musical starring Vivian Leigh in her only Broadway appearance, and its snappy little number "A Small Cartel" where Russian emigres in Paris after the Communist Revolution plot the cornering of the world oil market.

Finally, if you need to lure your students into a closer study of Section 7 of Clayton Act, I would suggest the movie or off Broadway drama (sorry no singing) of Other People's Money, an exploration of hostile takeover in the halcyon days of the 1980s.  Sadly Louis Brandeis does not make an appearance, but Danny DeVito does.


So I guess the real question is, how come there is no great theater on Article 101-102, public restraints, state aids, or the merger regulation in the EU? 

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