NY Theater News by Marcina Zaccaria
The New York International Fringe Festival, the largest multi-arts festival in North America, will be held again in downtown New York this year.
On August 5th, artists and staff gathered at the Sheen Center at 13 Elizabeth Street to present excerpts from some of the shows scheduled to be performed in 2014. Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy spoke about this year’s preparations. Holy said, “I feel like we are right in the middle of it…The best part, everything is on track, we had our last venue prep and load in yesterday.”
The New York International Fringe Festival is the largest multi-arts festival in North America. This year’s festival is held for 16 days, from August 8th – August 24th. In its 18th year, the festival features work from more than 200 companies participating from all over the world. Although many people are NY based artists, more than 13 countries are represented in terms of the International Artists for the Festival.
The festival was founded in 1997. In 2007, the festival was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Arts & Culture. The Fringe features stand-up comedy, drama, musicals, puppetry, performance art, multi-media, and spoken word performances. The festival has been a starting ground for shows like the Tony Award winning, Urinetown. Artists like Bradley Cooper, Morgan Spurlock, (Supersize Me, CNN’s Inside Man), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), and Tony Award winner, Diane Paulus (Pippin). Over 75,000 people attended the festival last year.
“Every community every year is unique and it is that eclectic collection of artists gathering with the audience that is unique,” said Holy.
Shorts presented this year included Bedroom Secrets, a drama starring Stephen Wallem (TV’s Nurse Jackie) and Ashlie Atkinson (Fat Pig), I’ll Say She Is, a revival of the Marx Brothers 1924 Broadway debut musical comedy, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (starring David Carl), The Imbible, Fatty, Fatty No Friends, a darkly comic Tim Burton-esque musical about bullying, and Urban Momfare, a new musical comedy.
The artists are performing in venues in downtown Manhattan that include The Players Theatre, The Kraine Theater, and the Connelly Theater. All in all, more than 18 venues are utilized for the festival. Fringe Central serves a meeting place and a location to pick up tickets and check out a guide of the shows. This year, Fringe Central is located at 114 Norfolk Street, between Rivington & Delancey on the Lower East Side.
Holy took a moment to look back at the early years of the festival. Many of the events will be held around the Clemente, “which is where we had our original town meeting in 1996, before we had the first New York International Fringe Festival.”
Special events are also part of the festival. They include Fringe AL FRESCO and FringeART. There are tents outside and weekly events scheduled. Holy calls working with the community groups, “a homecoming.”
Tickets can be picked up in person at Fringe Central, or purchased online. Tickets are: $18 at www.FringeNYC.org. Discount passes for multiple shows range from $85 – $500. They are $85 for a Fiver Pass, $150 for a Flex Pass good for 10 shows, and $500 for an all-you-can-see Lunatic Pass. This year, you can also “Fringe on the Fly” by purchasing tickets on your mobile phone and device up to a half-hour before the performance. You can present your mobile tickets at the lobby at the door. For more information, visit www.FringeNYC.org.
*Photos: Dixie Sheridan