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Flashback Friday: Urinetown Paved the Way From FringeNYC to the 2002 Tony Awards

Hunter Foster leads the ensemble of Broadway underdogs in a rendition of “Run Freedom Run.”

We're in the throes of August, and aside from the suffocating heat and humidity, that means it's Fringe season once again. Now in its 20th year, the New York International Fringe Festival brings together hundreds of artists to present new work throughout the city. As we cull this year's offerings, we can't help remembering Fringe's greatest success story — Urinetown.

Debuting at FringeNYC in 1999, the satirical musical about pay-to-pee privileges moved off-Broadway in 2001, followed closely by a Broadway mounting later that year that ran through 2004. The Broadway cast starred Tony nominee Hunter Foster, Spencer Kayden, Jennifer Cody, Jeff McCarthy, Jennifer Laura Thompson, John Cullum, and Nancy Opel, among other Broadway regulars, who led the production all the way to the 2002 Tonys where it was nominated for 10 awards and won three.

The little-show-that-could may not have earned the evening's top prize (Thoroughly Modern Millie, the musical headed by Foster's sister, Sutton, beat out Urinetown for Best Musical), but the cast certainly made a splash on the Radio City stage. Take a look at their performance below.