Dog Days of Summer Bring Incredible Entertainment: The New York International Fringe Fest
By: Ellis Nassour
The New International Fringe Festival, through August 24, is here. Sixteen days, with more than 200 companies from the U.S. and world presenting 1,200 performances all over the East Village and Lower East Side in more than 20 venues. And, get this, the prices are affordable [$18 or less per ticket]! FringeNYC is one of the most eagerly-anticipated annual arts events.
There’s so much more than just going to catch a show you’ve undoubtedly never seen before: FringeAL FRESCO, FringeART, FringeCLUB, FringeJR, FringeU. Go to the huge FringeNYC website www.fringenyc.org for details on all of the above; the Slice-O-Matic, a moving marquee of the plays, musicals, classics, political satire, one-person shows; alphabetical tabs for listings of each show with website details and venue location; and ticket purchase. A majority of the offerings are premieres.
To purchase: Once you’ve reviewed the vast array, click on the desired performance and purchase using your credit card (charges applies). Your confirmation will be e-mailed immediately, which you can then save directly to your mobile or print. Get to the venue and line up at least 15 minutes before performances at the colorful flag. Seating is first come/first served. Have your ticket ready to be scanned. It’s that easy to enjoy the show! Be sure to review transportation options to get to the venues, so you arrive on time. Latecomers aren’t admitted [no exceptions].
Keep in mind that FringeCENTRAL, the Fest’s hospitality complex with show directories and much more, at 114 Norfolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets [open Noon to 8 P.M.], is the only place to purchase tickets without paying service charges.
The Fringe has arrived to the digital age. Press the "Share" button to alert Facebook friends what show you’re going to. Get them aboard! It’s more fun with friends. There’s a group rate of $13 per ticket to a single performance for groups of 20 or more. If you’re one of those who can’t get enough or one searching for the next big hit to play Off or on Broadway, you might want to invest in a Festival Pass.
Shows, like audience tastes, vary in quality [sometimes the posters are more entertaining than the play; but the variety is huge. There’s truly something for everyone.
Sight unseen, a few suggestions: soccer fans might like Futebol by Eilis Cahill, from Brazil’s In Search of a Song Productions, about four Americans in Sao Paulo during the World Cup who confront a monstrous rage; the multi-media comedy The Internet!: A Complete History (Abridged) from Sauce and Co.; from right here in NYC, the hysterical first revival of the Marx Brothers’ 90-year- old (1924) first Broadway show [over 300 performances], the only one of their vehicles never to be filmed, the musical I’ll Say She Is by Will B. Johnstone, with music by Tom Johnstone — adapted by Noah Diamond, choreography by Helen Pontani; and Corey Conley [2011 Fringe Excellence Award] and Brooklyn’s Black Door Theatre Company’s Magic Kingdom, a "dramedy" of siblings fighting in a theme park full of irresistible temptations, with a child caught in the struggle.
Highly recommended, merely on the basis of subject matter: a must for Agatha Christie/Miss Marple fans, Philip Meeks’ U.K. hit Murder Margaret and Me [without a comma after Murder, it could make an interesting premise], presented by Janet Prince and Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, which has Miss Christie playing detective, unearthing the "terrible secrets" of the U.K. great comedienne Margaret Rutherford [who played Marple in the movie series].
All sorts of food and drink options – from fast-food, to authentic BBQ, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and steak houses – cover the width and breath of the Festival.