By Scott Brown
Updated May 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Somewhere beyond the sublime, beyond the ridiculous, beyond the slack self-awareness that typically corrodes theatrical satire, lies Urinetown. The deliberately off-putting title hazes audiences for a pungent but never foul send-up of post-Giuliani New York, musical theater, Brechtian minimalism, and humanity in general — brought off, believe it or not, sans bathroom humor. With their rousingly derivative tunes and wit-to-spare lyrics, upstart scribes Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis get surprising mileage out of their milieu, a drought-stricken dystopia where ”it’s a privilege to pee.” Inspired work by director John Rando and his flawless ensemble cast (which includes Northern Exposure‘s John Cullum) keeps the kooky concept ever fresh, exuberant, even moving. To put it crudely, you’ve got to go. A

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