Get Your Fringe On!

Get Your Fringe On!

It’s once again time for the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC)! From Aug. 12 through Aug. 28, 200 shows will put on 1,100 performances at $18 a ticket. The shows range from musicals/operas to multimedia to dance to comedy to burlesque to performance art and more. There will be special events including shows geared toward kids (FringeJR), high schoolers (FringeHIGH) and free outdoor performances (FringeAL FRESCO), among others.

"A History of Servitude" (©Angie Kremer)

Fringe theater is broadly categorized as “experimental” theater. This means that the subject matter or the manner in which it is presented to an audience is not like the traditional big-budget shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera” or “Cats.” Fringe shows often have a low budget and are smaller-scale, production-wise. A fringe festival is when multiple fringe productions are put on in an organized event. Many fringe festivals are unjuried—meaning anyone who submits to perform, can. (FringeNYC does have a jury-based selection process.) The first official fringe festival was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1947, while the first one in the U.S. was in 1992 in Orlando, FL.

The New York International Fringe Festival was established in 1997, becoming our country’s seventh fringe festival. Over the years, this festival has been the source of shows that had successful runs on Broadway or Off-Broadway including “Urinetown,” “Debbie Does Dallas,” “Silence! The Musical” and “Matt & Ben” (the hit fictional play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck written and performed by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers).

This year’s shows are being staged in 16 venues, with each show being performed five times over the course of the festival. Tickets are available online (up to five minutes before showtime) or in person at either FringeLOUNGE (for any performance, up to 15 minutes before said performance) or at the door (for that performance only, up to 15 minutes prior). 

For a full list of shows, click here. You can search shows by genre, showtime, performance date, venue, where the show is from (local, national or international) and specific cultural tags. There is something for every theatrical taste and who knows—you may be witnessing the next big thing.

"Walken on Sunshine" (©Tim Lorge)

Scrolling through the show list, dozens upon dozens of titles and summaries caught my eye including:

-“Walken On Sunshine” – Musical/Opera – “An anxiety-ridden filmmaker accidentally lies to investors about having Christopher Walken in his movie and embarks on a ridiculous quest to get Walken. Neuroses, quirky love, bad guys and cowbells emerge to derail him. Will he ever find Walken?” Written by Dave Droxler, music by James Rushin and directed by Marcus Stevens.

-“GIRLish” – Improv/Sketch/Stand-up – “A sketch tale of two young women with grew up to be ‘Girl-ish.’ This comedy revue is grounded in Steph and Alex’s true life experiences and woven with music, movement, a little absurdity and a lot of fun!” Written by Stephanie Anderson and Alex Bellisle. Directed by Tiffani Swalley.

-“LUNT AND FONTANNE: The Celestials of Broadway” – Drama/Comedy – “Meet the most famous forgotten actor-couple in theater history, Lunt and Fontanne, played by a real actor-couple. This fast-paced new play covers their extraordinary partnership, from the 1920s through WWII and the 1950s, with cameos by Olivier, Coward and Brando.” Written by Mark E. Lang. Directed by Owen Thompson.

-“Growing Up Fundie” – Solo Show – “What’s it like to run away from a fundamentalist Christian cult with only a second grade education and a burning conviction that there must be something better out there? A stand-up comic’s harrowing and hilarious true story of salvation.” Written and performed by Brooke Arnold.

I could go on and on, but it’s best if you go to the website and see for yourself what plots catch your eye. Book your tickets fast, as the festival only runs 16 days!

"LUNT AND FONTANNE: The Celestials of Broadway" (©M.P. Myers)


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